The Ultimate Fighting Championship is in talks to buy an ownership stake of the G4 network from Comcast, according to reports.
The UFC’s current contract with Spike expires at the end of the year and executives are bracing for president Dana White to take his MMA empire elsewhere.
“There’s no doubt we’re looking around,” White said recently. “When I say we’re talking to everybody, we’re talking to everybody. That’s what you do when your deal is up. … Spike TV’s been there for a long time. I’ve got great relationships there, and hopefully we’ll stay on Spike TV.”
According to The New York Times, UFC could own more than 60 percent of G4 in the proposed deal:
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.
Spike’s $170 million-a-year deal with UFC for the show, “The Ultimate Fighter,” and for live fights expires in six months. Negotiations between Spike and UFC for a new deal started almost one year ago, one of the people said, but broke down after UFC proposed a $325 million-a-year fee, a price that was far steeper than Spike was willing to pay.
How soon before we see the UFC Network? Five years?