WME-IMG recently purchased the UFC for $4 billion with the plans to take the MMA promotional company to a global audience through content. The UFC puts on nearly 40 events a year and remain largely dependent on PPV revenue. Mark Shapiro, co-President of WME-IMG, is focusing on producing greater quality content on the live event broadcasts in Fight Pass, FOX, and PPV shows.
Mark Shapiro told Fast Company:
“How we can make the telecast better? How can we work with Fox or whomever our partner is to make the telecast better? How can we make our telecast on Fight Pass better? How can we make Fight Pass as a whole better with the programming we can offer around the fights themselves? It’s in totality, [we’re] looking at the content on both linear and an OTT basis.
Shapiro references the NBA when he talks about building up stars in the UFC. He mentions that star players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant drive the league’s popularity. People cheer for their teams and individual players. The UFC has a lot of talent and dynamic personalities that haven’t been capitalized on. Hopefully WME-IMG can create some more stars for the general public to either cheer for or against.
Through my own independent research there is a lot of room for improvement on UFC telecasts. From the commentary to the aesthetics the UFC has not been targeting the casual sports fan in their broadcasts.