UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta sat down for a must read interview with Gareth A Davies of the UK's Telegraph Sport. The interview was ahead of Fertitta's headline speaking engagement Wednesday in London at the 6th annual Leaders Sport Summit. In it Fertitta details getting into BJJ, buying the UFC, mistakes along the way, and the future of the company.
“If the UFC was able to go from what it was back in ’93 to what it is today in only 20 years, if we were able to accomplish what we have in the last 12 years, the next 20 years is going to be the most interesting part. The history’s great and we’ll always have it; that’s what makes the UFC what it is, but the more exciting part is where we’re going now.
“You're going to see a transformation in our business going historically from where we’ve been operating like an events company. We’re going to transform into a true global media company in the sense that we are really the only entity out there who produces and controls the content.”
“The next step is to take control of the distribution rights. So you saw an announcement where we launched a joint venture with Televisa in Mexico and Latin America on a 24-hour network.”
“Now that could evolve in most markets, not necessarily every market, but I think you'll see us transform. When I first bought the company, the first thing I did was to download the WWE public files, not because I am a fan of wrestling in any way shape or form but they had a cool business model.”
“Event, live ticket sales, sponsorship, pay-per-view. That’s kind of who we wanted to be at the time. Today and moving to 2025 I want to be more like the Discovery communications. A global media company, create our own content, by selling sponsorships and commercials, and we further that by controlling the distribution point of actually owning the networks or having joint ventures, owing a portion of the network.”
“It sounds kind of crazy on the face of it but you think about what helped their company go from producing this dangerous type of content to being a global media player and owning all these networks around the world, there’s something generic.
“People will watch two guys competing in the Octagon no matter where they are. We’re all human beings. You've heard Dana say that… we can sell to Russia, to Africa, to Brazil, to America. It’s not like every sport, because they don't all translate. American football doesn't translate here and you know maybe cricket doesn't translate in the United States. But this is different.”
“People will watch baby seals in Alaska. Anyone. It’s interesting, whether you're from Alaska or you're from Africa, or you're from the Caribbean, it’s interesting programming.
"Nature is something we all understand, we all get it; it surrounds us every day. So we’re going from the old model, which we don't want to be associated with any longer, to a sports event promoter, into a global media company.”
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