ESPN&Fox Sports TV universe exploded in UFC's Face

The ESPN & Fox Sports TV universe just exploded in UFC’s face

By Zach Arnold | December 18, 2017

The financial backers of UFC have found themselves in a precarious position for getting a new TV deal, thanks to the proposed dissolving of many of Rupert Murdoch’s sports assets and an internal meltdown with ESPN management.

Many of the Fox sports properties (not FS1, however) are being sold to ESPN to boost their streaming platform in 2018. Rupert Murdoch is cashing out. He didn’t see a long-term future in sports programming on pay television. The old man is getting out while the getting is good.

One of the incredible rumors swirling around the Fox/ESPN deal is that Rupert’s son, James Murdoch, would end up with a gig at Disney or ESPN. James, like Lachlan, isn’t exactly in the Fox News management mold. Such a proposal looked preposterous on paper until Monday’s bombshell announcement of ESPN President John Skipper resigning. The publicly stated reason for Skipper’s resignation was due to substance abuse issues. However, ESPN found themselves caught up in a nasty sexual harassment scandal over the weekend because of a Boston Globe report detailing allegations against personalities John Buccigross and Matthew Berry. ESPN released some of the conversations in question to the allegations but it was reportedly an issue of selective editing. Now the question is when the other shoe drops in Bristol.

ESPN management has been melting down for years despite Bob Iger’s best assurances. Iger just gave Skipper a multi-year extension and now Skipper quits?

Making things even more bizarre, ESPN just demoted Teddy Atlas from their boxing telecasts and banned him from live fight commentary. He’s now stuck doing post-fight Don Cherry-wannabe shtick with Stephen A. Smith. Mark Kriegel, poached by ESPN from Fox Sports/Al Haymon, is a total dud on the Top Rank telecasts with Tim Bradley. The reported reason for Teddy’s demotion involved, you guessed it, complaints about Teddy ripping into athletic commissions and officials.

You can rip Teddy Atlas for many things. His behavior is wildly erratic. However, if you’re going to rip Teddy Atlas for ripping into combat sports corruption, rip Teddy for not being specific or effective enough in his criticism of obvious problems. Removing Teddy Atlas and censoring his voice makes him a martyr for no obviously good reason.

To throw a further monkey wrench into UFC business with Fox, the company just drew a lousy TV rating for the Robbie Lawler/Rafael Dos Anjos fight that got next to no publicity on network television.

All of the turmoil at ESPN & Fox Sports makes Amazon look more attractive as a future UFC broadcasting partner. Turner Sports is lurking but Amazon is Best of Breed on digital technology and can monetize UFC in ways no other business partner can. The television lifelines are starting to get yanked away from UFC and thinking out of the box is required for UFC’s financial backers to make a return on their investment.

http://www.fightopinion.com/2017/12/18/espn-fox-sports-earthquake-ufc-television/

Cited in the article:

UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Dos Anjos overnight ratings are dismal

Winnipeg’s UFC show recorded some of the lowest overnight ratings ever for a Fox event.

It appears that fans were not that interested in a Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos fight, or the other three main card bouts on the Winnipeg main card. According to MMA Fighting, the overnight ratings were the third-worst of any UFC on Fox event, and the worst of any of their six annual December events.

The show did 1.78 million viewers and a 0.6 rating in the all-important 18-49 demographic.

That number is expected to rise a bit, likely over the two million mark, due to the last three rounds of the main event stretching past the measured 8pm-10pm ET time period. It also doesn’t accurately measure the west coast, due to the show being live and not airing in that time period at all, so there will be adjustments. But I wouldn’t expect a major difference.

According to Dave Meltzer, this overnight number of viewers is only better than one Fox show - the last one in July, headlined by Chris Weidman vs. Kelvin Gastelum. And it’s way down from other December Fox shows so far.

The headliner saw Dos Anjos take a one-sided unanimous decision win over Lawler. The rating was likely hurt a bit by the decision to move Jose Aldo to the UFC 218 headliner, instead of taking on Ricardo Lamas on this event. Lamas ended up getting brutally knocked out by late replacement Josh Emmett in the co-main event.

Who cares what Zach Arnold thinks?

If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much - 

Who cares what Zach Arnold thinks?


MMA LOGIC, A/K/A, 45 Huddle

A digital streaming network would be perfect. I literally only turn on my Comcast box for UFC and Boxing. Would be great to get rid of it all together.

If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much -

Who cares what Zach Arnold thinks?

everybody

.

Morpheus1976 -
If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much -

Who cares what Zach Arnold thinks?

everybody

Not me

therefore your statement is factually false

Yeah I don't turn on my television other than for NFL and the occasional other sport or special (Bellator, Kentucky Derby, Las Vegas massacre, Dallas cops getting mowed down, etc). Maybe once per week for an hour or two tops during NFL off season.

As far as I'm concerned, UFC can completely go away on television and I wouldn't notice. If the product improved I would eventually look for their events. Right now I watch Bellator MMA and almost zero UFC.


Any guesses on what Amazon may pay for UFC programming? With potential players leaving the table, I've got to believe it's going to be had for cheep.

SinCityHustler - Yeah I don't turn on my television other than for NFL and the occasional other sport or special (Bellator, Kentucky Derby, Las Vegas massacre, Dallas cops getting mowed down, etc). Maybe once per week for an hour or two tops during NFL off season.

As far as I'm concerned, UFC can completely go away on television and I wouldn't notice. If the product improved I would eventually look for their events. Right now I watch Bellator MMA and almost zero UFC.


Any guesses on what Amazon may pay for UFC programming? With potential players leaving the table, I've got to believe it's going to be had for cheep.

my pov, 150 million

^^^Ha Ha I would fucking laugh my ass off and treat a couple friends to a steak dinner if that happens. I'll do it at $200M.

In for $300 million total (thinking a small portion might go to Amazon while Fox or Turner gets the lion’s share).

SinCityHustler - ^^^Ha Ha I would fucking laugh my ass off and treat a couple friends to a steak dinner if that happens. I'll do it at $200M.

its not what the UFC wants, it's what the parties interested are willing to pay.

MMA LOGIC spitting fire:

45 Huddle says:

UFC 220 is basically 2 solid title fights and a useless undercard. I wanted to go to the event love but can’t justify it with only 2 worth while fights.

The New owners just don’t know what they are doing.