When the UFC announced their new television deal in Mexico, it was hard to gauge. The UFC has touted TV deals in countries before to much fanfare only for us to later learn from a local on Sherdog that no one can get the channel and those that do have the 12,000 rupee cable package. But this new Televisa thing seems to be the real deal:
The channel is expected to be available in about 20 Latin American countries. The more early emphasis will be on Mexico and Argentina, which, based on web site traffic, are in the top ten countries worldwide when it comes to interest in the promotion.
“Lorenzo said today (Friday), it was one of the three major deals in company history, the FOX deal here, the Globo deal (in Brazil), and now this Televisa deal,” said Jamie Pollack, Senior Vice President and General Manager of UFC Latin America. “This is a massive media deal within sports, entertainment, media. We’ve got other leagues, the NFL, Major League Baseball, they can’t break into this Latin American market the way we’re breaking into it.”
Javier Balseca Gonzalez, Televisa’s publicity and promotion coordinator told Variety that the channel would launch around September.
The basic battle plan is to use the power of Televisa, easily the most powerful media entity in the market, to promote the UFC stars and fights in Mexico, as well as open up doors for the rest of Latin America, where they have programming connections.
One of the biggest aspects of the deal is that four UFC shows per year would be airing on Canal 5. The station, which concentrates on youth-oriented programming is one of the network’s big four channels available in virtually every television household in Mexico.
A good TV deal is the lynchpin for international expansion into any country and now the UFC has that for Mexico and possibly all of Latin America if things go well. And don’t underestimate the market – Lorenzo Fertitta isn’t touting this market as the next India (lulz) but I think it could do pretty well for the company. Mexico has a bit of a passion for combat sports and if the UFC catches on, it could change the landscape of the sport.