UnderGround Forums ESPN, Fox Sports Team Up for UFC TV-Rights Bid (EX

4/17/18 5:16 PM
5/11/13
Posts: 3487

http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/espn-fox-sports-ufc-bid-1202755660/amp/

Rivals ESPN and Fox Sports have teamed up to bid for television rights for Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Variety has learned that the two companies have recently proposed to split the UFC TV package in a move that would bring as many as 15 fight events to new subscription streaming service ESPN+.

According to sources with knowledge of the proposal, ESPN has signaled that it would be willing to pay $120-180 million per year to add the Endeavor-owned mixed martial arts league to its collection of live-event rights.

Fox, which currently pays $120 million per year UFCrights, would be willing see that number increase to a little more than $200 million. Fox’s current package includes four Saturday-night fights per year on Fox Broadcasting and a number of fight events on cabler Fox Sports 1 that has increased annually under its current agreement. A joint bid with ESPN would see Fox’s total number of events decline slightly.

Representative for ESPN, Fox Sports, and Endeavor declined to comment.

For ESPN, a UFC deal would provide premium live-event content for the fledgling ESPN+ service not currently available on the company’s linear cable channels. ESPN+ launched last week at $4.99 per month with a mix of content including select games from MLB, NHL and out-of-market MLS games. UFC could mark the first significant deal for Kevin Mayer, who was recently promoted to run a direct-to-consumer unit at ESPN parent company Disney, and the network’s new president, James Pitaro.

Endeavor has reportedly sought $300-$400 million per year in a new television package. The agency acquired UFC in 2016 for roughly $4 billion with private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and KKR — part of an aggressive push into original sports content. While still known as WME, Endeavor bought sports agency IMG in 2013 for $2.3 billion and bought Professional Bull Riders in 2015 for a reported $100 million.

But potential network partners have balked at the high asking price to televise UFC, which also distributes fight events through its own pay-per-view and OTT platforms. UFC has suffered significant ratings declines in recent years. In 2017, Fox’s Saturday-night broadcasts fell 22% in average total viewers from the previous year at just under 2 million. “UFC Fight Night” on FS1 averaged 795,000 viewers, down 17%.

Fox signed a seven-year television deal with UFC in 2011, and late last year put in a roughly $200 million bid to secure those rights — far lower than the Endeavor asking price. A joint deal with ESPN would keep Fox in business with UFC at a time of transition for the company, which is in the process of selling the bulk of its entertainment divisions to Disney.

An exclusive negotiation period between UFC and Fox expired late last year; the MMA league has explored options from handing over the rights to a traditional network like Fox or one of the growing number of tech giants who have displayed an increased appetite for sports rights over the past 12 months. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel has also considered holding onto the rights and distributing over the league’s own streaming service, a possibility that received renewed speculation last month when Endeavor spent $250 million to acquire streaming provider NeuLion.

While Fox and Disney have fought each other in years past to secure various U.S. TV sports packages, UFC would not mark the first league to which these rivals have shared rights. Both companies currently split rights to several leagues including Big Ten Conference, MLS and Pac 12 football.

A post-acquisition 21st Century Fox would consist of a slimmed-down Fox Sports, Fox News, and a Fox Broadcasting uncoupled from its lucrative television studio counterpart. The company, referred to as New Fox internally, is expected to be driven primarily by sports and news programming

 

4/17/18 5:32 PM
5/19/17
Posts: 4328

Wasnt this exactly the one thing  that MMALOGIC said wouldnt happen?

4/17/18 5:56 PM
1/17/03
Posts: 12376

Since Disney bought much of FOX, I guess it makes sense 

4/17/18 6:05 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 24684

I'm not going to pay $4.99 a month for an ESPN streaming service to watch the ufc. ESPN is part of my cable package I already pay for so fuck paying additional money just for the ufc. 

4/17/18 6:05 PM
9/13/02
Posts: 32845
DavidYorkshire - 

Wasnt this exactly the one thing  that MMALOGIC said wouldnt happen?


yes

4/17/18 6:07 PM
9/13/02
Posts: 32846
Mutant - 

I'm not going to pay $4.99 a month for an ESPN streaming service to watch the ufc. ESPN is part of my cable package I already pay for so fuck paying additional money just for the ufc. 


this.

Edited: 4/17/18 6:14 PM
8/6/06
Posts: 42564

Fuck the ufc, I'm not paying for multiple subscriptions, to watch cards. I've paid for Fightpass, every month of it's existence, I'm not buying another monthly subscription to watch the same shit split two seprate places.

4/17/18 6:21 PM
1/26/08
Posts: 16180
Mutant -

I'm not going to pay $4.99 a month for an ESPN streaming service to watch the ufc. ESPN is part of my cable package I already pay for so fuck paying additional money just for the ufc. 

You always bitch about paying for content so I'm not surprised. 

4/17/18 6:22 PM
1/26/08
Posts: 16181
ABCTT_HeHitsMeBecauseHeLovesMe -

Fuck the ufc, I'm not paying for multiple subscriptions, to watch cards. I've paid for Fightpass, every month of it's existence, I'm not buying another monthly subscription to watch the same shit split two seprate places.

Guessing ESPN+ will get prelims now but not 100% sure. Wait till you see how the deal is steuctured. If they move prelims to ESPN+ and cut number of PPVs in half, you'd be saving over that you pay now for same content.

Edited: 4/17/18 8:03 PM
8/17/08
Posts: 14598

320m to 380m  per year ain’t too shabby.

they needed a second bidder to get near heir target.

4/17/18 8:02 PM
2/5/06
Posts: 981

I'm not very smart about this stuff but I can't understand why UFC is looking for somebody to stream their shit when they already have their own streaming service with Fightpass?

I don't like how the content is spread all over the place but I guess that's the nature of the business now. 

4/17/18 8:04 PM
12/28/12
Posts: 4723
MSH -

I'm not very smart about this stuff but I can't understand why UFC is looking for somebody to stream their shit when they already have their own streaming service with Fightpass?

I don't like how the content is spread all over the place but I guess that's the nature of the business now. 

probably because they're shit at running and growing it on their own? just a guess

4/17/18 8:10 PM
8/17/08
Posts: 14599
MSH -

I'm not very smart about this stuff but I can't understand why UFC is looking for somebody to stream their shit when they already have their own streaming service with Fightpass?

I don't like how the content is spread all over the place but I guess that's the nature of the business now. 

For up to 180m a year, fightpass is now called espn+ (For Americans)

:)

4/17/18 8:11 PM
9/5/16
Posts: 5168
MMALOGIC -

320m to 380m  per year ain’t too shabby.

they needed a second bidder to get near heir target.

That's not a second bidder.
4/17/18 8:29 PM
1/13/16
Posts: 16
MMALOGIC -
MSH -

I'm not very smart about this stuff but I can't understand why UFC is looking for somebody to stream their shit when they already have their own streaming service with Fightpass?

I don't like how the content is spread all over the place but I guess that's the nature of the business now. 

For up to 180m a year, fightpass is now called espn+ (For Americans)

:)

Will the number of ppvs be reduced to 6?

4/17/18 8:55 PM
8/17/08
Posts: 14601
dertdent -
MMALOGIC -
MSH -

I'm not very smart about this stuff but I can't understand why UFC is looking for somebody to stream their shit when they already have their own streaming service with Fightpass?

I don't like how the content is spread all over the place but I guess that's the nature of the business now. 

For up to 180m a year, fightpass is now called espn+ (For Americans)

:)

Will the number of ppvs be reduced to 6?

If they take this deal, yes.

4/17/18 9:10 PM
5/22/15
Posts: 7864
evh - 
MSH -

I'm not very smart about this stuff but I can't understand why UFC is looking for somebody to stream their shit when they already have their own streaming service with Fightpass?

I don't like how the content is spread all over the place but I guess that's the nature of the business now. 

probably because they're shit at running and growing it on their own? just a guess


It'd offer more exposure to those that already have an ESPN+ subscription. In turn, fightpass and ESPN+ both will gain subscriptions. No one will cancel a current subscription for offering more content.

I'd say it's a brilliant marketing move by the UFC. They get paid more either way. But I won't.

This seems like a short sighted money grab. Who wants to juggle multiple apps and channels to watch fights? Prelims here, main event there. Only on? How many platforms now? FS1, ESPN+, Flightpass, PPV? I'd prefer they went another route. What that route is, well.. I'm not too sure given the current state, and I'm not too smart on these matters either.

MMA interest is in a decline. I can see the want for more exposure, but what has contributed most to declining interest is the oversaturation of watered down cards, the illegitimacy of titles and the fall of manufactured stars. Now we will have to pay more for not the same, but for an expansively cheapened product.
4/17/18 9:48 PM
12/16/09
Posts: 1210

Sadly UFC has done an amazing job at making me not care too much anymore. 

I miss the time when I looked forward to every card and had a living room full of people to watch it with. 

I don’t even remember the last ppv I ordered and not even sure when the next event is or who is fighting. 

4/17/18 10:03 PM
11/28/14
Posts: 2189
Kingofny23 -

Sadly UFC has done an amazing job at making me not care too much anymore. 

I miss the time when I looked forward to every card and had a living room full of people to watch it with. 

I don’t even remember the last ppv I ordered and not even sure when the next event is or who is fighting. 

This 100%

4/17/18 10:34 PM
8/17/08
Posts: 14604

Rumor on proposed split:

espn + streaming service will essentially be fightpass for us residents.

- fightpass library

- fightpass prelims

- exclusive fight nights

- espn fight night prelims

espn national cable networks (espn 1, espn 2);

- espn fight night main cards

- ppv prelims

espn regional sports networks (previously fox sports networks before Disney bought it)

- access to ufc library of content

fox networks (fox broadcast, fs1, fs2)

- contender series

- fight nights (main card and televised prelims)

- ancillary programming (unleashed, etc)

.......

espn will be pushing every ppv with complete coverage.

 

Edited: 4/17/18 10:38 PM
5/30/11
Posts: 5660

It's superior to an ESPN + NBC deal, at least.

Also, no mention of making certain fighters exclusive to one platform or the other, which was an insanely stupid idea.

Also I'm totally fine with ESPN+ replacing FightPass. I can live with this.

4/17/18 10:44 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 46104
unbelievable if true. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the UFC would get over 300 million per year for their tv rights.
4/17/18 11:01 PM
1/26/08
Posts: 16185
RKing85 - unbelievable if true. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the UFC would get over 300 million per year for their tv rights.

Not to be rude but Ari isn't agreeing to spend what he did without knowing what he could get. The lenders who gave him money wouldn't give him money without having industry experts tell them what the deal would be worth. That's why I didn't get all the doubters on here. It's like people on here think billionaires are idiots and made a bad investment without researching the market.

 

that was more of a general statement then it being directed at you.

4/17/18 11:48 PM
2/5/06
Posts: 982

So I guess this is it for TUF? I didn't watch it anymore but I will be kind of sad to see it go. I might watch this last season just because 

Edited: 4/18/18 12:11 AM
8/17/08
Posts: 14605

Who’s gonna outbid 390m/yr?

shout out to my boyz at TerenzOwenz.com for helping get this bid through.  lol