Fox Reportedly Emerges As Front Runner For UFC Broadcast Deal
Fox has emerged as the "front runner for a UFC distribution deal," and an agreement "could be done by the end of the month," according to sources cited by Chad Dundas of ESPN.com. Fuel, one of Fox's cable networks, reportedly "would likely be the hub for UFC content and could be renamed and rebranded as such." UFC reportedly had been in talks for a broadcast deal with NBC that included a "takeover of the company's G4 network," but that "may not happen now." Dundas wrote the timing of the Fox-UFC speculation "is interesting" since the MMA organization announced last week that it "signed a two year deal with Fox Latin America" (ESPN.com, 8/5).
GETTING IN ON THE FIGHT? ProElite VP/Fight Operations T. Jay Thompson denied a report that the MMA organization was "close to signing a TV deal with Viacom to broadcast its events on CBS and Showtime in the near future." Thompson said, "There is absolutely no truth to the report that we are close to a deal with CBS and Showtime." He said that ProElite officials are "talking to 'everyone' in the TV world but stopped short at saying who was the frontrunner." The organization's Aug. 27 show will stream live on Sherdog.com, but Thompson hopes that "he will have a TV deal in place by the promotion's second show" (MMAFIGHTING.com, 8/9). In the original report, CAGEPOTATO.com's Mike Russell cited sources as saying that ProElite "is in the final stages of negotiations for a multi-year television deal with Viacom that will see its events broadcast on both Showtime and CBS starting in the first quarter of 2012." Russell noted Showtime's "current deals with Strikeforce and M-1 will soon be over, effectively clearing the way for ProElite’s shows to be broadcast on its networks" (CAGEPOTATO.com, 8/8).
SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL: Spike TV's UFC 133 "Prelims Live" special on Saturday night earned 1.4 million viewers. In addition, the hour-long broadcast earned a 1.13 rating in the male 18-34 demographic, and a 0.9 among males 18-49 (SHERDOG.com, 8/9).