MENU
#Francis Ngannou #UFC Fight Night 124 #UFC 218 #Daniel Cormier #Alistair Overeem #Conor McGregor #Khabib Nurmagomedov #UFC 220 #UFC 219

Apple, Amazon and New Streaming Services Could Play a Major Part in UFC Television Rights Deal | MMAWeekly.com


On Thursday night, Amazon will broadcast the first of 11 NFL games on its Prime streaming service after paying a reported $50 million price tag to share broadcast rights with either NBC or CBS during the football season.

Amazon bidding on football rights was not only a shocking move by the online shopping giant but it also signaled a clear change in the way sports will be viewed from now until forever — and that could include the upcoming TV rights deal for the UFC.

The end of September will serve as the closing date for the exclusive negotiating period between the UFC and FOX, which means as of Oct. 1 the mixed martial arts promotion can begin fielding offers from other networks on a broadcast rights package that would begin in 2019.

The UFC signed a deal reportedly worth around an average of $115 million a year with FOX back in 2011 but the company is looking for a massive increase in rights fees with their next television package. After the UFC sold last year for more than $4 billion, the new owners at WME-IMG promised investors that a big part of recouping the funds used to buy the promotion would be from the upcoming television rights deal.

In fact, WME-IMG laid out figures north of $400 million per year for the next UFC rights deal that would hopefully last for somewhere around 10 years with whatever network landed the organization.

While the UFC will maintain the option to ink a deal with a single network, the inclusion of streaming services could shake up how the promotion ultimately ends up deciding on the television rights from 2019 and beyond.

In a report from Variety on Wednesday, Amazon is not just sticking a big toe into the water to test out streaming live sports — they are going to aggressively pursue more deals with rumors already swirling that they will get involved in the bidding for the rights for the English Premiere League soccer matches.

Amazon already won the rights to the ATP Next Gen men’s youth tennis tournament that will stream online through 2018.

Amazon isn’t alone in online streaming services looking to nab top sports franchises. Facebook put in a $600 million bid for the five-year broadcast rights for Indian Premiere League cricket matches. Facebook was outbid by Star India, who paid $2.6 billion for the rights, but it’s clear that other streaming services are willing to pay for premium sports — especially when they can find a worldwide audience. The same could be said for Amazon, who will broadcast NFL games to over 200 countries with Prime customers paying $99 a year for the service. In fact, Amazon would only need 500,000 additional Prime memberships to justify the $50 million price tag for the NFL rights and that doesn’t even include additional advertising or in game purchases made by viewers online (for instance, team apparel or memorabilia could be made available for purchase for Prime customers watching the NFL games).

That brings us to perhaps the biggest elephant in the room — Apple.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Apple introduced a new Apple TV that will be capable of broadcasting in 4K definition with plans to launch a new sports tab that will include numerous live events. Now Apple didn’t go into much detail about the sports that will be streamed on the service, perhaps instead just opting to work with already existing applications such as ESPN or FOX to broadcast games through the new Apple TV. 

There is a possibility, however, that Apple could decide to get into live streaming exclusive events and that’s where the UFC could become a viable candidate for a broadcast rights deal.

Apple has more than $256 billion in liquid cash on hand, which means they could essentially purchase part of the UFC’s broadcast rights without even denting their current holdings. The UFC is also in an advantageous position because they are the only major sports franchise with broadcast rights coming up before 2021. That means if Apple wants to get involved in live streaming sports sooner rather than later, the UFC might be the best possible partner to work with as they launch this new service.

Of course to add to the speculation, Apple posted for a new job opening for a sports editor “to lead content curation and programming for the recently-announced live sports feature in the Apple TV app.” 

Now all of this doesn’t mean Apple would win the entire UFC rights package, but they could pay for a portion of the broadcast rights alongside a network such as FOX, NBC or even Turner Sports, who would then pick up another part of the deal. Then again, Apple has enough money to virtually outbid anyone if they really wanted to exclusive rights to themselves, although it’s tough to imagine the UFC would want to completely abandon network television right now.

As for Amazon, Jim DeLorenzo, who heads up their sports department for Amazon Video, isn’t ready to commit to any other broadcast rights deals until after they see how successful the NFL will be starting with games this week.

“We’re always looking to see what our customers find compelling,” DeLorenzo told Variety.

Considering the UFC’s imprint online already with UFC Fight Pass not to mention pay-per-views streaming online, it’s entirely possible that a deal with a streaming giant like Amazon or Apple could be a huge factor in the next broadcast rights deal.

If the NFL is a huge success for Amazon, that could put the heat on other streaming services to sign up more live sports sooner rather than later and that means the UFC could cash in with their rights deal opening up in a matter of days. It also means if Amazon, Apple, Facebook or another streaming service are willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money for even a portion of the UFC rights, then the TV networks could be forced to pay the same if not more to get an equal part of the pie.

Most experts have predicted due to dwindling subscription numbers and more and more customers cutting the cord that the sports broadcast rights bubble may have already popped but the inclusion of streaming services such as Amazon or Apple could completely change the game again and it’s the UFC who might benefit the most.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Comments

Show Comments

Related News

George St-Pierre's Coach Calls for Conor McGregor: 'The Biggest Fight in UFC History' | MMAWeekly.com

  • 23 days ago
  • 103 views

Georges St-Pierre's coach is continuing to call for a historical match-up between his charge and Conor McGregor. read news >>

Dooho Choi Collapses Thiago Tavares in UFC KO of the Week | MMAWeekly.com

  • 15 days ago
  • 94 views

"The Korean Superboy" Dooho Choi earned back-to-back Performance of the Night bonuses when he knocked out Thiago Tavares in the opening round in 2016. read news >>

Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar Headlines UFC 222 in Las Vegas | MMAWeekly.com

  • 10 days ago
  • 17 views

Featherweight champion Max Holloway is wasting no time to put his title on the line again as he will face Frankie Edgar on March 3 in the main event at UFC 222 in Las Vegas. UFC officials announced t read news >>

Watch Stipe Miocic Lower the Boom on Fabricio Werdum in UFC Knockout of the Week | MMAWeekly.com

  • 9 days ago
  • 139 views

Before he faces Francis Ngannou, check out Stipe Miocic's stunning knockout of Fabricio Werdum in front of a stunned crowd in Curitiba, Brazil. read news >>

Watch the UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou Ceremonial Weigh-in Live at 6 PM ET | MMAWeekly.com

  • 6 hours ago
  • 10 views

Watch the UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou Ceremonial Weigh-in streaming live from Boston on Friday at 6 p.m. ET. read news >>

Daniel Cormier Drags It Out, but Hits the Mark at UFC 220 Weigh-in (Full Results) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 6 hours ago
  • 10 views

The UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou fight card is official for Saturday's event at TD Garden in Boston following Friday's early morning weigh-in. UFC 220 is headlined with the heaviest fights possible, a read news >>

Conor McGregor's Coach on the Prospect of the UFC Champion Being Stripped | MMAWeekly.com

  • 3 hours ago
  • 6 views

Has the time come that Conor McGregor will be stripped of his second consecutive title without ever defending? read news >>

Holloway defends against Edgar in UFC 222 main event

  • 11 days ago
  • 1 views

After a pair of finishes over Brazilian icon Jose Aldo that earned him recognition by several outlets as the 2017 Fighter of the Year, undisputed UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will risk his read news >>

Watch the Bellator 192 Weigh-in Live at 8 PM ET | MMAWeekly.com

  • 2 hours ago
  • 3 views

Watch the Bellator 192: Rampage vs. Sonnen official weigh-in streaming live from Inglewood, Calif., on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. read news >>

Jeremy Stephens gets quick turnaround, meets Josh Emmett in UFC on FOX 28 headliner

  • 18 hours ago
  • 14 views

Just days after one UFC main-event win, Jeremy Stephens has been booked to headline UFC on FOX 28 against Josh Emmett. read news >>