UFC officials confirmed their plans to USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie, and a formal announcement will be scheduled later this month.
“The UFC has always been ahead of the game in the digital world,” UFC co-owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said. “The UFC was the first major sporting organization to embrace social media and the first to offer live pay-per-view events across multiple digital platforms. The new digital network continues that tradition of innovation, bringing unrivaled choice to UFC fans.”
While UFC officials would not reveal an expected pricing structure for the platform, the network will feature live and on-demand programming, including more than a dozen live fight cards beginning with UFC Fight Night 34 on Jan. 4 at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
An event March 8 at London’s O2 Arena also will stream on the new platform, which will replace and enhance the UFC’s current digital home at UFC.tv.
The as-yet-unnamed network (which UFC President Dana White discusses in the above video) will allow the promotion to hold international fight cards in prime time in those local markets while keeping the content accessible to fight fans around the globe at times when television partners might decline to air live programming. The Singapore event, for instance, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. local time, 6:30 a.m. ET.
“The UFC’s expansion into international markets, and the extended calendar of events, is certainly part of the reason it makes sense to launch the digital network in 2014,” Fertitta said. “UFC fans are the most passionate fans in the world, and we want to ensure they can see every fight and every event no matter where in the world the octagon may be.”
International versions of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the company’s long-running reality competition series, also are expected to be available on the digital network. Historical fight footage and live fight-week fan and media events also will be streamed.
The UFC has had 30 events in 2013, with three more scheduled before year’s end. Eighteen are domestic events, and 15 are international, in locales such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Japan and Sweden.