On Thursday, August 18, a landmark announcement was made that marks the wildly popular Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) move to network television for the first time. Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel, who is representing the UFC, brokered the deal, which will put UFC’s programming on the FOX family of networks for the next seven years.
Although financial terms were not disclosed, it was reported on Tuesday that the UFC would receive approximately $90 million per year in rights fees. FOX executives said that they were inclined to take on the UFC because of their ability to attract the elusive male 18-to-34-year-old demographic.
This is a huge move for the mixed martial arts fighting program, which has steadily been gaining popularity since its television debut years ago. Under the terms of the new agreement, FOX will broadcast four UFC events per year and six events on FX, their basic cable station that is currently available on 99,369,000 homes.
The Ultimate Fighter, UFC’s reality competition show, will also air on FX in a revamped, live version, while additional FOX stations like FUEL and FOX Deportes will also be host to UFC programs. The terms of the deal include that the first UFC event will air on FOX on November 12, with additional UFC programming on other FOX networks to launch in January 2012.
The landmark announcement was jointly made at the FOX studios in Los Angeles by FOX chairman and CEO David Hill, FOX Sports media group co-president and COO Eric Shanks, FX president John Landgraf, UFC president Dana White, and Zuffa chairman Lorenzo Fertitta.
“Television is about the next big thing, and that’s why we’re here this morning,” said Hill, who added that the UFC was “something we firmly believe in.” UFC’s Dana White added, “This was it for me, this is what I always wanted. This is what I always felt was the pinnacle for us here in the United States. Not just to be on the No. 1 network in the country, but to be on a network with all the other real big sports: NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, etc.”
Our Haute 100 list details the accomplishments of the most influential people in each of our markets. To see the entire Haute 100 Los Angeles list, click here.