There are several sports league’s that not only survive, but thrive, without the revenues afforded by pay-per-view. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NASCAR – the list rolls on – are among those sports that draw little or no revenue from pay-per-view.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship from day one, however, has been a pay-per-view company. The UFC was built not only on, but specifically for the pay-per-view revenue model.
But what was once a spectacle, pitting style against style, has grown and morphed into an actual sport, with rounds, rules, and regulation.
As mixed martial arts has come into its own, the UFC has taken it to the highest of highs, and continues to go bigger with each passing day. No longer is the UFC isolated on pay-per-view, the promotion now runs numerous events each year on broadcast and cable television, as well.
Will there come a day when, like the major sports leagues, the UFC will forego pay-per-view altogether?
UFC president Dana White believes it is a distinct possibility.
“Yeah, I do believe there will be a day when there probably isn’t pay-per-view.”
The UFC has grown into a global force under the guidance White, the Fertitta brothers, and the rest of Zuffa, and it will continue to do so.
“With this Fox exposure, we’re only a few months into this deal, but yeah, as we continue to put on shows and showcase talent over the next several years, the fan base is going to grow bigger and bigger and bigger.”
But it’s not necessarily television in its current format that White has in mind.
Several great minds in the world of technology believe that the television industry as we know it is ripe to be turned on its head. Chief among those visionaries was late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who prior to his death told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had “cracked the code” to changing the television industry.
While changes thus far have been incremental, if Jobs was correct, and most pundits agree that a wave of change is coming, it is just such change that White is referring to as being what will draw the UFC away from pay-per-view.
“As the landscape in television continues to change – a lot of people believe everything is gonna go to the internet,” said White recently.
“Like, now, when you buy your cable, and there’s basic cable and you can add other stations. We’re probably gonna get to a point where you can just pick exactly what you want. I want this channel, I want that channel, and I want that one, and that’s it.
“It’s very interesting to see where all this goes over the next several years, but I think the UFC is definitely gonna be a power player in the sports world.”