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Change in PPV Negotiations Bring a Drastic Twist in UFC

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Modified 19 Feb 2019
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Twenty-five years back history was made when combat sports changed forever. Eight fighters from different backgrounds faced each other in a tournament in Sports Arena Denver to acknowledge which fight technique was superior; knows as the "The Ultimate Fighting Championship." Since then UFC is followed in loved by millions worldwide who enjoy the breathtaking brawl in the arena. Every second is fatal for the fighter, but a fans fate is dependent on broadcasting channels.

Yes! It’s not like UFC fights are available for everyone, it is the geo-restrictions that block users and halt their access. By hook or by crook UFC fights are craved by fight enthusiasts who are looking to watch the brutal attacks to stay on top. Previously UFC returned to Australia for UFC 234 pay-per-view event live from Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne but fans weren’t happy with the broadcasters.

Is biggest PPV Distributor Not Available to Watch Upcoming UFC Fights?

With the hype getting bigger by the hour, fans are looking for alternatives to watch Upcoming UFC Fights because the international fans won’t be able to see the fight live through DirecTV! Among the biggest PPV providers in North and Central America owned by AT&T Communications; DirecTV seems to be caught between a UFC distribution deal and the UFC fights will not air on the network anymore.

By the end of 2018, the distribution of broadcasting deal with the UFC expired, and the two names have not yet come to an agreement. Reports claim UFC sought a 70-30 split on all the PPV revenues which is assumed to be the clashing point in the contract.

DirecTV No More - What Is The Alternative?

Despite offering alternatives for international fans, geo-restrictions cannot be kept out of the question as PPV events biggest orders come from satellite and cable companies which offer a 50/50 split to UFC under its current contract. This marks a lower profit margin for UFC as its best interest is to push buys to UFC.tv so they can get the highest percentage of the total revenue and keeping distribution contracts as well.  

Besides this everyone believed with PPV prices as high as $34.99/month HD, fans would no longer be willing to spend such a big amount for single events and the reign of pay-per-view would be over. But with Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor and Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao costing as high as $99.95 for PPV, the fate of PPV does not seem to be over anytime soon.

Right now, UFC is one of the biggest pay-per-view events for cable companies as it broke a world Record of selling 900,000 buys on the McGregor’s fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. UFC has PPV events since 2006, and UFC alone is the market leader for PPV fights whether it was on HBO, Showtime or any other promotional channel.

It’s interesting to understand that UFC viewing options include UFC.TV, ESPN.com, Amazon Prime, Xbox, local cable providers, Sony PlayStation, and Dish Network but these channels are geo-restricted. The only way possible to watch these channels is only possible through a guide to unblock geo-restrictions and access UFC fights live online to view the upcoming fights.

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UFC and PPV - Going down the Memory lane

In 2011 UFC left Spike TV to collaborate with FOX Sports, the news was phenomenal for the sports market as this was a route towards more access to users as FOX sports is a big name in the sports. UFC would always be on the network's TV in prime time episodes multiple times a year, and MMA became the next in line to be available on Fox Sports 1.

 But by the end of 2018, ESPN and UFC came to an agreement that signed a broadcast and stream distribution of the US. The contract was approved for $1.5 billion for five years. So far no one can predict the future of DirecTV but rumors has it that UFC will not come to an agreement anytime soon with DirecTV.

Fight Pass history goes back in 2013 when it was launched in December that year known as a digital subscription service that delivered exclusive events live as it happened, on demand and unique fight content to fans all over. So with a small change in broadcasting channel, UFC fans will not hold back to watch the fights.

Lastly,

UFC has been broadcasting in more than 165 countries and regions with more than 60 global broadcasting affiliation, to more than 1.1 billion TV households. UFC is definitely something to root for as the name evolved to an organization catering to 40 different languages and its fan base consists of people of ages 18-34.

That being said, yes it came as a surprise that DirecTV is no more the official broadcaster, but UFC fans have a tendency to evolve and adapt which they will with ESPN.

Published 19 Feb 2019, 17:37 IST
UFC
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