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Old 11-29-2016, 09:03 AM #1
Eastcoast Eastcoast is offline
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Default UFC looking to quadruple its TV broadcasting deal up to $450 million dollars

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by Jed Meshew
When Zuffa sold the UFC to WME-IMG earlier this year for $4 billion, one of the key talking points in the aftermath was the upcoming TV rights deal expiration and renegotiation. The UFC's current broadcasting deal with Fox Sports is a seven-year deal for $115 million annually, and by most accounts, FOX is getting a bargain for that price.

Well, soon they won't be. On Monday, the Sports Business Journal put up a piece delving into the plan WME-IMG has for the new TV rights deal, and among other things, it includes a major price bump with the UFC seeking $450 million per annum for ten years.

"Its magic number is $450 million a year, a potentially staggering increase from the $115 million annual average that FOX Sports now pays, according to several media and UFC sources.

"Although formal negotiations aren't expected to start until next year, network executives have learned that the UFC plans to seek at least a 10-year deal under those terms, sources said."

The UFC-FOX deal expires in 2018, but before then FOX has an exclusive window to negotiate a renewal in late 2017. If the UFC opts not to renew or just to take negotiations to the open market, the Sports Business Journal is reporting that the package offered will include four annual broadcast windows (the FOX shows), six annual cable events, weekly programming currently carried by FS1, and Fight Pass. It will not include the pay-per-view shows but any future winning bidder will likely receive more input on the matches that go to PPV. The Sports Business Journal also reports that even revenue from PPV is negotiable as well as the UFC unloading production onto the new partners. Currently, the UFC handles production of its shows, including all of the costs of production, but the new deal may shift that burden onto the new partners, increasing profits for the UFC.

The UFC can do this in part because most other major sports media rights deals are locked up for the foreseeable future. The MLB, NHL, and PGA tour deals all expire in 2021, the NFL in 2022, and the NBA in 2025. Any platform looking to add live sports content (traditionally viewed as valuable because the nature of it makes it must watch instead of recordable) is thus heavily incentivized to court the UFC because another major opportunity won't arise for another three years after that. In fact, the valuable nature of the UFC commodity is such that there is already some talk that the new package could eschew the UFC's previous inclination to be exclusive to a network and instead be split among multiple networks .

How FOX Sports would feel about this is unknown at the moment. Though they currently rely heavily on the UFC for content and ratings they did make a failed bid to purchase the UFC this summer for $3.6 billion, refusing to go any higher because they believed the UFC overvalued the worth of its media rights. Still, if FOX loses the reup bidding, it would lose one of the cornerstones of its programming and the best ratings earner for FS1.

The Sports Business Journal also takes a look at potential other landing spots for the UFC should they be unable to come to terms with FOX Sports, concluding that ESPN, Turner Sports, and NBC Sports Group are all likely to throw their hats in the ring. There's also the outside possibility that a digital media company like Amazon or Google, companies currently dabbling with smaller live streaming sports packages, will make a major investment into this area by jumping in with the UFC.

It's important to note that this deal was a cornerstone of WME-IMG's purchase of the UFC and the debt they financed to achieve the magic $4 billion number. This upcoming set of negotiations will be the first major deal carried out for the UFC by the new owners and may well be the most important one. If the UFC can't get the deal they're looking for, it's very possible WME-IMG will look to sell the company sooner rather than later.

But if they can get a deal done, things will be looking bright for Ari Emanuel and company going forward.
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Old 11-29-2016, 09:05 AM #2
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If they get it, McGregor earned it for them. They better hurry and seal the deal before he takes a bad loss.
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Old 11-30-2016, 06:56 AM #3
Eff Pandas Eff Pandas is online now
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People just have no clue how much money is in live sports these days. I just saw a story that Amazon is trying to make bigger plays for live spots these days too. Look for Netflix & Hulu & other online streaming players to get in on this too. Its just starting to get interesting (this is why I'm confident PBC will secure a deal sooner or later).

DVR players have f#cked over the modern advertising world making live sports is the best work around right now for Budweiser & Pepsi & whoever to throw money at the networks.
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Old 11-30-2016, 07:11 AM #4
Eff Pandas Eff Pandas is online now
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Originally Posted by Eastcoast View Post
If they get it, McGregor earned it for them. They better hurry and seal the deal before he takes a bad loss.
Conor won't be fighting on Fox or whatever channel anyway + the UFC is still bigger than any particular fighter.

And there are a dozen Ronda Rousey's & a dozen Conor McGregor's waiting to take those two's place in the sport. When Ronda leaves her spot will be taken. When Conor gets old or beat up too much his spot will be taken.

The UFC is a star creating machine. Everyone people are talking about in MMA now or who's headlining PPV's went from nobody to somebody in 2 years or less cuz of how the UFC matchmakers work. Someone is always moving up, someone is always becoming a star. Remember when Tito Ortiz was the ****. Remember when Chuck Liddell was the ****. Remember when Brock Lesnar was the ****. Remember when GSP was the ****.
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Old 11-30-2016, 08:58 AM #5
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Originally Posted by Eastcoast View Post
If they get it, McGregor earned it for them. They better hurry and seal the deal before he takes a bad loss.
I don't think it was just Mcgregor and Mcgregor never fights on fox, the UFC star power doesn't generally decline because of losses. Lesnar still pulled in 1M+ at 200 even though Overeem and Cain smashed him.

Ronda will still do decent numbers at 207. They build their fighters differently to boxing if Mcgregor retired someone else would take him place and they'd stack their cards maybe Northcutt if he keeps doing well, even though he looks like a douche. There is no emphasis on how many losses you take in the UFC because for the most part unless you are Mcgregor you have no choice on who you fight, you have to fight the best.

A lot of people though that once Lesnar went back to the WWE UFC wouldn't do big numbers for a good while, but they broke the 900k mark with Pierre - Diaz and Silva - Sonnen in consecutive years. The UFC have it right at the moment and as long as they have their wage structure they will keep growing regardless of the fighters.
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Old 11-30-2016, 08:59 AM #6
Eastcoast Eastcoast is offline
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Originally Posted by Eff Pandas View Post
Conor won't be fighting on Fox or whatever channel anyway + the UFC is still bigger than any particular fighter.

And there are a dozen Ronda Rousey's & a dozen Conor McGregor's waiting to take those two's place in the sport. When Ronda leaves her spot will be taken. When Conor gets old or beat up too much his spot will be taken.

The UFC is a star creating machine. Everyone people are talking about in MMA now or who's headlining PPV's went from nobody to somebody in 2 years or less cuz of how the UFC matchmakers work. Someone is always moving up, someone is always becoming a star. Remember when Tito Ortiz was the ****. Remember when Chuck Liddell was the ****. Remember when Brock Lesnar was the ****. Remember when GSP was the ****.
No McGregor won't be fighting on regular tv, but he draws interest into the sport for casuals. Rousey was the same way. People knew about Rousey, now McGregor, so they start watching some of the Fox shows to learn more. The original TUF series had that effect as well. Captured people's interest.

But your right about the UFC being a star-maker, something Haymon never figured out in boxing. However the UFC went through some periods where their stars were injured or newly retired and it really hurt their numbers.

If their contract is up in 2018, and Rousey's gone and McGregor takes a bad loss, and there's no other marketable star on the horizon, it could really hurt their bargaining position, especially if the fighters have unionized by then.
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Old 11-30-2016, 12:29 PM #7
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Originally Posted by Eastcoast View Post
No McGregor won't be fighting on regular tv, but he draws interest into the sport for casuals. Rousey was the same way. People knew about Rousey, now McGregor, so they start watching some of the Fox shows to learn more. The original TUF series had that effect as well. Captured people's interest.
Its already has gotten peoples interest. And a lot of people know the UFC now because of Conor. And there is gonna be a guy after Conor. Just like there was a guy after GSP & then a guy after Lesnar & then a guy after Liddell or whatever the order is. And there are gonna be 5 or so lesser big names supporting that main guy or girl.

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But your right about the UFC being a star-maker, something Haymon never figured out in boxing. However the UFC went through some periods where their stars were injured or newly retired and it really hurt their numbers.
Yea sure every sport has ups & downs. I don't follow football, but I'm hearing the NFL isn't doing all that great vs what they are used to doing right now too. This is always gonna happen for anything. The Sopranos, Breaking Bad & The Walking Dead have had some rating issues at some point in their trajectory. Its nothing new. It doesn't matter.

And its not really a Haymon thing. Haymon hasn't been in his current position to say he can or can't build stars. Haymon has been with this PBC thing for less than 2 years & the UFC doesn't always build their stars in 2 years or less & certainly no one in boxing is building stars in 2 years or less. I'm not even sure Haymon has enough control with matchmaking to CONTROL the main aspect of star creation from most accounts of how Haymon discusses future moves with opponents, but I'm obviously not in the meetings so who f#cking knows. But I knw you can't just market a guy into stardom. In boxing you need the talent, the skill, the fights & the wins in those particular fights to become a star. And NO ONE in boxing is matchmaking in a way thats making stars as consistently as most mainstream sports & the UFC make stars. Boxing has been a bunch of guys trying to have the prettiest record & lowest numbers in their L column for the last 15 years or so. So no one in boxing is really in the star creating business, they are in the pretty record business.

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If their contract is up in 2018, and Rousey's gone and McGregor takes a bad loss, and there's no other marketable star on the horizon, it could really hurt their bargaining position, especially if the fighters have unionized by then.
The UFC means something more than Ronda & Conor. Ronda is almost assuredly gone now. I won't be surprised if Dec. 30 is her last fight win or lose. I'd bet she's got 3 fights left max. Conor is almost assured of losing again. Everyone loses in the UFC. The UFC will move forward regardless cuz someone else will come along that will build off of Conor & Ronda like Conor & Ronda built off of Liddell, Lesnar & GSP among others.

And I wouldn't hold my breath on a fighter union. I'm rooting for it happening, but the fact that its barely got off the ground thus far suggests to me its years away (3, 4, 5 years) best case scenario. And that stupid ass MAA for MMA isn't gonna get off the ground cuz all those guys on the side of a MAA for MMA bill are dip****s.
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Old 11-30-2016, 05:09 PM #8
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will never happen. No network is willing to pay that much for something that doens't generate any kind of ratings and relies on one fighter (mcgregor) winning up until the end of the contract.
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