Showtime Sports Executive VP and GM says that he will be reaching out to the UFC about being broadcast partners. The UFC’s broadcast agreement with FOX is coming to a close and if the network and the UFC cannot reach an agreement on a new broadcast deal then companies like CBS, Showtime, HBO, or NBC may bid high enough to be the main broadcaster in the future.
Dana White was critical of Showtime with how it handled Strikeforce but praised the network after the UFC and Showtime worked together on the Mayweather-McGregor fight.
Showtime and HBO use boxing to get subscribers. The new subscribers who want to watch a fight hopefully end up finding a new favorite TV show or the movies that the network airs and eventually become full-time subscribers. However, while Showtime and HBO pay the promoter for the rights to each fight, making for an easy revenue stream for the promoters, it limits the exposure of the fights and fighters. Because people have to pay extra to watch a fight it is likely that most will opt to watch a basketball or baseball game on ESPN, a channel they already get, instead of paying a monthly fee for a new, premium channel. Maybe Showtime will get the more popular fights on their network, but that would probably require a hefty price tag. CBS would be a big player to help promote the UFC but access to the network may not be in the cards for this broadcast agreement.