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Reports: Elite XC will have a deal with CBS

By Zach Arnold | February 28, 2008

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Sherdog report here. MMA Junkie was the outlet that first reported the news.

Meanwhile, Bloody Elbow has discussion about the rapid competition that is coming UFC’s way shortly. Adam Swift has an update about the latest legal manueverings between Zuffa & Randy Couture.

Update: Here is the CBS/EXC joint press release.

Adam Swift brings up a curious part of the rumored deal:

MMAPayout.com has also learned the rumored financial terms of the agreement. The deal is believed to be a straight time buy, meaning EXC would received no live rights fees. Pro Elite is already shopping for a title sponsor of the first show at $500,000, plus a commitment to buy a minimum of eight commercial spots from CBS, and a $100,000 investment in Pro Elite.

One of the lessons I learned over the many years from promoters in the pro-wrestling business is that if you have to buy the air time, it means the only loyalty a TV network has to you is the paycheck you give them for each show. In other words, let’s wait and see what kind of loyalty CBS really has to Elite XC on the deal other than a “straight cash, homey” kind of situation. Saturday night is a tough night to make headway on a program like this (just ask Vince McMahon with how poorly Saturday Night’s Main Event did the last couple of years.)

Update II: Dave Meltzer reports that UFC has inked a sponsorship deal with Bud Light.

Update III: This SEC filing claims that the CBS/Pro Elite deal was inked on February 22nd.

During the term, subject to limited exceptions, the Company’s ProElite and EliteXC brands will be exclusive to CBS in broadcast television and premium cable in the United States (excluding Puerto Rico) and Bermuda.

Topics: Media, MMA, Pro Elite, UFC, Zach Arnold | 10 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

10 Responses to “Reports: Elite XC will have a deal with CBS”

  1. JThue says:

    It’s official now. Press Release at elitexc.com. No first date announced, but it IS a MULTI-YEAR deal for four events per year, and confirmation that shows will be promoted under the EXC banner(thank God they didn’t create a third brand for this). Good for EXC.

  2. sonzai says:

    Could the fact that there is practically zero committment from CBS here be the factor in the UFC’s refusal to sign? I assume CBS didn’t much change their conditions from one promotion to the other. UFC would certainly be bargaining from a stronger position than Elite XC…

  3. Zach Arnold says:

    I think there’s going to be a lot of handwringing about UFC not doing a deal with CBS, but if the terms of the deal were a pay-for-play situation, then White should be commended for not going along with that charade.

  4. cyphron says:

    I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that CBS’s deal with EliteXC virtually guarantees that the UFC will sign with another network, one way or another, sooner rather than later.

    They can’t really let the competition stay on network TV without their presence. It would be a disaster.

  5. jim allcorn says:

    When does it becme apparent to the Fertittas that Dana just can’t get the big deals done though?
    He has the wherewithall & the product entisement to get major players like HBO & CBS interested & to the nogociation table, but he obviously has an inability to close the deal. I don’t care how they spin this to the media, holding talks for weeks on end with CBS, then walking away without a deal only to have EliteXC step in at seemingly a moments notice & lock one up to become the first MMA organization to be broadcast on free, over the air, major network television ( not counting MyTV of course … ) is embarrassing for the UFC. I don’t care what the terms are.

  6. jim allcorn says:

    And no, before the comments come in accusing me of such, I’m NOT a “Dana hater”. I just don’t believe at this point, at this level & in this sort of a business environment that the man can properly negotiate deals of this magnitude. When he’s dealing with non-“fight people” & has to work with the executives of major corporations, I think he needs help.

    While he can close some deals like the Bud Light sponsership for instance, he can’t get the others done. Like getting the UFC on a truly MAJOR network.

    I think that if the Fertittas are in this game for the longhaul & not looking to cashout sometime soon, they should seriously consider making Dana the “chief executive officer of fighter operations” or some such thing & just let him handle dealing with the talent that they have under contract & hire someone else to do all the REAL nogotiating. Someone with a lot more business sense who’s professional & doesn’t allow ego & personal agendas effect his or her decision making abilities like Dana White so obviously does.

    Just my two cents.

  7. Zach Arnold says:

    Someone, anyone – please explain to me how it is of any benefit to UFC that they should do a pay-for-play deal with a network like CBS, especially in a kill-zone time like Saturday night.

    Just because the terms of the deal may be good for EXC, does not mean that the terms would have been good for UFC.

  8. Chuck says:

    “I think that if the Fertittas are in this game for the longhaul & not looking to cashout sometime soon”

    I don’t think they are. Because Dana White himself admitted that Zuffa is open to selling UFC for the right price (looks like $500 million or so) but they aren’t actively looking for buyers.

  9. IceMuncher says:

    “I don’t care how they spin this to the media, holding talks for weeks on end with CBS, then walking away without a deal only to have EliteXC step in at seemingly a moments notice & lock one up to become the first MMA organization to be broadcast on free, over the air, major network television ( not counting MyTV of course … ) is embarrassing for the UFC. I don’t care what the terms are.”

    If you reread what you wrote, can you spot the glaring flaw in your rant?

  10. D. Capitated says:

    Dave Meltzer says CBS is paying EXC a fee per show. So much for it being a time buy.

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