The UFC may be heading to their own channel. Negotiations with their current cable home, SpikeTV, seem to be finished. (I have absolutely no confirmation for that. That’s just how it looks.) The UFC wants a lot more money (From the current $170 million a year to $325 million) from Spike than they have in the past and their contract with the channel is up in 6 months.
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.
I have mixed feelings about this. First, if UFC takes over G4, what happens to Ninja Warrior and Campus PD? I’m sure there are some people out there that would be worried about Attack of the Show, but I’m pretty sure Olivia Munn already has another gig.
While this would probably be a bad thing for the Chris Hardwicks of the world, it would be good for MMA fans in the end – The UFC could show old events in their entirety. Someday the TUF fights could be live during the season. Those international TUF shows they keep talking about would be shown. Countdown shows could be shown at a decent hour.
G4 is not currently on DirecTV, but as Mike Chiapetta points out:
Even if the UFC buys control of G4, it will have some work to do to build up the struggling network, which is available in just 59 million homes. By contrast, Spike is available in 99 million. At the end of 2010, G4 was removed off DirecTV, a move that could be reversed given the UFC’s strength as TV’s premier pay-per-view provider, a business that directly benefits DirecTV.
There are unlimited possibilities if and when the UFC finally has their own channel. Plus, it could signal the move of Bellator to SpikeTV which would be great for Bellator.