On Jan. 4, UFC Fight Night travels to Singapore for the new year’s first global event. In the past, the UFC would have trouble marketing such a show, given the time difference. After all, U.S. viewers will wake up at 6 a.m. PST if they want to catch the action and, even then, it’s only available online.
The UFC is making this experience more convenient for fans in launching a new digital streaming network, slated to debut Jan. 1. UFC Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik joined The MMA Hour earlier this week and elaborated on how the subscription-based service came about.
“One of the things we’re trying to do is get hyper focused on all the content that’s being distributed and created for not only the US market, but for the international markets,” Zelaznik said. “So, it seemed as we were evolving the way we look at our business and we built these offices up in all these places all around the world that the training wheels can come off and I don’t have to manage those offices like I used to.”
Much like Netflix and Hulu, the unnamed service will be available on most media platforms, including Apple TV, Android and iOS systems, and gaming consoles. Pricing details have not been released, but Zelaznik says he expects low fees.
The biggest winners are going to be international fans. Most UFC events are held in the U.S., which means fans around the world adjust their sleeping patterns accordingly. The new network not only airs fights live, but saves them for future viewing. Pay-per-views are the exception and will not stream in any way.
The full UFC library will be also available, including footage acquired from PRIDE, PRIDE Bushido, Strikeforce, WEC, WFA, and Elite XC.
While the promotion’s goal is to gain a foreign audience, easy access to live fights and video archives may also be Dana White’s way of curving online piracy, as his pro-SOPA stance is well documented.
Either way, the new network is a move in the right direction for the UFC. With over 50 events schedule next year, 33 of which are televised, they need a new platform. Streaming media is giving basic cable viewership competition and the UFC is jumping in at the perfect time.
“[We’re] looking at how quickly this whole world of content delivery is changing and making sure that we are in step with what is happening in this space,” Zelaznik said.