Spike unwilling to pay $325 million; UFC considers buying G4 television network

by Mike Chiappetta | source: mmafighting.com

Two of the people with knowledge of the NBCUniversal talks said that UFC, which is privately held, could take ownership of 60 percent or more of G4, which is one of the lowest-rated cable channels in Comcast’s portfolio. Its target audience of men ages 18 to 34 overlaps nicely with UFC’s audience on Spike, a unit of Viacom, which has carried a fighting reality show for the last six years.

Spike’s $170 million-a-year deal with UFC for the show, “The Ultimate Fighter,” and for live fights expires in six months. Negotiations between Spike and UFC for a new deal started almost one year ago, one of the people said, but broke down after UFC proposed a $325 million-a-year fee, a price that was far steeper than Spike was willing to pay.

Spike executives, meanwhile, are said to be eyeing an alternative for fights: MTV2, another unit of Viacom, recently started showing fights produced by Bellator, a smaller mixed martial arts league, and those fights could be moved over to Spike.

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In a blockbuster development, the UFC is in talks to buy an ownership stake in the G4 cable channel, according to published reports.

On Wednesday, New York Times TV reporter Brian Stelter tweeted that a source had confirmed that "Comcast is meeting with UFC today about possible sale of a stake in G4." Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal furthered the developing story, saying the UFC is in discussions to "buy control" of the network.

In recent days, sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity told MMA Fighting that Spike, which has been the home of the UFC since 2005, is essentially preparing for life without UFC, and that it will move the Bellator promotion on to the channel in 2012.

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Recent Comments »

osiriss site profile image  

6/11/11 12:39 AM by osiriss

From My understanding the product (Show) is owned by Zuffa and it is licensed to Spike for a certain amount of years, along with the rights to broadcast additional Zuffa footage and the prelims. That contract is now running out hence negotiations. I am pretty sure that the reason that these negotiations are so tough is that Zuffa has in the past provided a lot of value added content to Spike. In other words Spike "paid" for TUF and zuffa threw in a few things for free or at a discount. Now that Zuffa has much better visibility in the market the prices to license those properties have gone significantly up, because let's be real most of the revenue generated by spike is a direct result of their relationship with Zuffa. The only loser here will be Spike TV. Zuffa will either get a pretty lucrative deal from spike with virtually zero risk or they will buy their own network and create a new platform to generate revenue from advertising dollars.

crumbs site profile image  

6/10/11 12:41 AM by crumbs

you realize when UFC renames G4 the UFC channel , every TV provider will carry that channel in SD and HD.what? did you think UFC would buy a channel that it cant expand, G4 is one of the lowest watched channels, but if UFC buys it , it will surpass Spike just based on UFC traffic.

easedel site profile image  

6/9/11 10:26 PM by easedel

VS has the NFL now and last I checked, NFL ratings are pretty down in the dumps. Also when the hell will this site work with firefox ffs. Looks like ass

KenP site profile image  

6/9/11 9:59 PM by KenP

Are you sure or guessing?  I dont know the answer to that by the way.  I would be surprised if the network didnt own it. 

YonYones site profile image  

6/9/11 9:53 PM by YonYones

Im sure the UFC

KevinMcAllister site profile image  

6/9/11 9:31 PM by KevinMcAllister


KenP site profile image  

6/9/11 8:34 PM by KenP

 Who owns the rights to TUF, Spike or the UFC?

Kidcombo site profile image  

6/9/11 7:22 PM by Kidcombo

I watch G4TV in HD on Comcast.

mexican jujitsu site profile image  

6/9/11 6:47 PM by mexican jujitsu

thats odd. i'm watching g4 in hd right now. but i guess i should take stinkys word on that.

RKing85 site profile image  

6/9/11 5:17 PM by RKing85

Great news for Bellator!MTV2 on Saturday nights is horrible for them.