During a new interview with the USA Today newspaper, Dana White has revealed that a new online UFC Network is set to launch in 2014.
While details are still a little scarce ahead of the official announcement later this month, it’s expected that the network will offer fans around the world the opportunity to watch more than a dozen live events along with the option for on-demand too.
It’s likely that this will be the preferred destination for the UFC’s upcoming series of localized ‘Fight Night’ events in regions like Europe and Asia which are scheduled to commence in 2014. White had previously stated that there was a real chance that these events wouldn’t be televised live outside of these local markets due to factors such as networks like FOX Sports perhaps not having the space in their schedule to accommodate them, or being reluctant to air events live at unreasonable hours due to time zone differences.
White had hinted that they had an alternate solution in mind, and as we predicted at the time, it does appear to be this new online component.
Indeed, White confirmed that the ‘UFC Fight Night 34’ event from Singapore on January 4th will be the first show to be streamed live from the new network, while ‘UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson Vs Manuwa’ event from the UK in March.
In addition to live events like this the network, which is yet to be named, is also expected to be the first port of call for on-demand access to international editions of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, previous events and fight week fan and media events.
So far there’s no indication as to what the pricing structure will be for the new network. That’s likely to be a crucial component to the success of this venture however as some fans already feel that it’s difficult and expensive to keep up with all the events the UFC puts on as it, and with these additional online shows generally expected to be lower tier offerings with an emphasis on regional talent, it may be a struggle to convince all but the most hardcore of fans to get on-board.
That being said, with the UFC appearing determined to continue their global expansion and ramp up the number of events they put on, they had to come up with a solution to give everyone a chance to see every show if they want to, so from that standpoint this new network does make sense.