The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Yahoo! Sports have signed a deal that will make Yahoo! the new online distributor of UFC pay-per-view events, the UFC today announced.
The deal goes into effect for next weekend’s UFC 82 event, which takes place March 1 and features a main event between Dan Henderson and Anderson Silva. The 10-bout lineup features one of the deepest fight cards in recent UFC history.
The online availability of pay-per-views provided by the UFC and Yahoo! Sports allows anyone with a web connection the opportunity to purchase and view live UFC events. Viewers will get the same feed that cable/satellite users receive when purchasing an event. (There’s no word if un-televised preliminary fights might be offered in the future.)
The online price for UFC 82 is $44.95 — the same as the cable/satellite price. Additionally, online viewers will be able to watch the feed for a full 24 hours.
This new global initiative is much like the NFL Game Pass, the online version of the NFL Sunday Ticket that is available internationally online only through Yahoo! Sports.
“This relationship with Yahoo! is an important step for the UFC to build its global distribution platform for live pay-per-view events,” UFC President Dana White stated in today’s press release. “We are looking forward to working with Yahoo! to expand our reach and bring the sport to fight fans in every corner of the world.”
Given Yahoo!’s worldwide reach and penchant to localize online content, it’s not outside the realm of a possibility that future UFC events could be broadcast in new languages.
Additionally, although the two parties are thus far fairly mum on the details, such a deal could open the door for Yahoo! to offer some of Zuffa LLC’s video footage, which includes fight footage from both the UFC and the recently acquired PRIDE Fighting Championships. Currently, the Yahoo! Sports MMA section offers more than 100 clips of press events, weigh-ins, event promotional materials and other MMA specialty programming. The UFC also allows Yahoo! Sports to run a popular “KO of the Week” clip, which has quickly become one of the most popular video segments anywhere on Yahoo! Sports.
Again, although the UFC and Yahoo! Sports can’t confirm, the deal could also open the door for live Spike TV events — not just pay-per-view events — to be available live online to an international audience. Many non-U.S. viewers are unable to watch live versions of UFC Fight Night events and The Ultimate Fighter Finales because Spike TV is not available in many overseas locations.
For the full press release, head over to Yahoo! Sports.
Yahoo! Sports is a content partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
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