In a very telling article published by TV Week the UFC’s television expansion is discussed including the long talked about deal to put the UFC on HBO.
The UFC will debut a new show next month entitled “UFC Wired”. The show, which will be hosted by Joe Rogan, will feature fights from the UFC past in a similar fashion to “UFC Unleashed” but with a focus on introducing the sport and its history to new fans as well as show historic bouts from the past. The show will air in or near primetime to give the UFC major exposure and is currently set to be shown in 85 percent of the US. The show is expected to air on the Fox network of stations.
For those worried that UFC programming may move from the Spike TV cable channel to the premium HBO, Spike TV and the UFC are in progress of finalizing a deal to keep The Ultimate Fighter, UFC Fight Nights, and other UFC programming on the network past 2008 when their current contract expires.
HBO will host mid-level UFC events which are above the status of fight nights but not PPV quality. With Spike looking to expand their UFC Fight Night offering beyond the typical 5-7 events a year and the UFC unlikely to cut back the number of PPVs anytime soon this can mean one thing: more UFC events. With HBO in need to events these are likely to simply be additional events and should not take away from the number of Fight Night and PPV events the UFC already holds. Though no contract is in place yet with HBO White was confident in the article saying the deal “would happen”.
“UFC Wired” is expected to debut in September while the UFC’s programming on HBO has yet to be scheduled pending the finish of their contract negotiations.
The article also has some information on where the UFC is planning on holding future, overseas shows. Here’s a piece of the article:
White said plans are in the works to take the UFC series “Live Event” on a world tour, with four stops in the U.K. and additional stops in continental Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Canada.