The UFC today unveiled a new television deal with Televisa Networks which will see them extend their reach into Latin American countries outside of Brazil with a subscription channel.
The 24hrs a day, 7 days a week UFC channel will each 20 Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America and offer a full range of programming including 35 live events a year in addition to the back catalogue of fights from the UFC and other promotion’s under the Zuffa banner such as PRIDE, Strikeforce and the WEC.
There’ll also be original content such as The Ultimate Fighter series, brining the total content available to over 20,000 hours of UFC related programming.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta described the channel, which launches in late 2013, as “a game-changer” in the Latin American market.
The deal is particularly significant in terms of the coveted Mexican market, with Televisa dominating the telvision market in that region.
The UFC have been eager to tap into the Mexican’s passion for fight sports – boxing in particular – and with this deal, coupled with the fact that they currently have a heavyweight champion with strong links to the region in Cain Velasquez – there’s never been a better time to do so.
It should also be noted that the new deal doesn’t include Brazil where the UFC is already doing great numbers with their current TV partners there.
In an ideal world they would be hoping that the UFC will now explode in popularity in the rest of Latin America as it has done in Brazil, but that may prove difficult given that a lot of the groundwork had already been laid there given the countries strong association with mixed martial arts and the benefit of having a large pool of homegrown stars already well established in the promotion.
It’s going to take longer to cultivate a market like Mexico, but the results in the longer term could make it well worth their time and effort.