Earlier this year, the UFC was sold by Zuffa, its long-time parent company, for a whopping $4 billion. With this massive transaction, the company’s reigns were handed to WME-IMG, an American talent agency helmed by Ari Emanuel. One of the major discussion points surrounding this sale was the UFC’s television broadcast deal, which is set to expire in 2018.
The UFC’s current broadcast deal is with Fox Sports. This deal has a seven-year shelf life, and earns the UFC $115 million annually. While this sounds like a pretty cushy deal for the promotion, its actually a relative steal for Fox. Yet that could soon change.
According to a Monday report from the Sports Business Journal, WME-IMG will be seeking a major pay increase for UFC TV rights when the company’s current deal expires. The exact price tag, according to the Sports Business Journal is $450 million per year over the course of a 10-year term. Big bucks, to say the least.
“[WME-IMG’s] 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,” the Sports Business Journal explained.
“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.”
So what would any interested buyers get for this massive price tag?
The Sports Business Journal explains:
“The package the UFC will take to market will include the rights to four annual broadcast windows that Fox now holds, six annual cable events and weekly programming on Fox Sports 1, plus the UFC’s over-the-top Fight Pass service. It is not expected to include the UFC’s lucrative pay-per-view business, which will likely be retained by WME-IMG. But some media executives believe any winning bidder will have more of a say in what matches will be part of the UFC’s pay-per-view events. Whether a network will share in some of the PPV revenue is a deal point that will be negotiated, sources said.”
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