Part of the UFC’s international plans include getting on TV in all the markets they eventually wanna hit up. It’s a no-brainer, but different markets have been easier to crack than others. The UFC’s latest deals in the UK with ESPN and Five are an example of solid TV deals coming into place to improve the company’s reach in that country.
I suppose considering the WEC is so much lower on the totem pole, it makes sense that their deals are gonna be crappier, but this is still pretty crap: they just signed a deal with Setanta Sports Australia. Nope, you didn’t hallucinate Setanta collapsing earlier this year. Setanta Sports Australia is just one of the last tiny bastions of Setanta existence, and it’s limping along quite lamely:
Although Australia has a population of approximately 22 million, Setanta Sports Australia is available to just 80,000 viewers. However, the country’s MMA fan base has grown steadily in recent years, thanks partially to Cage Fighting Championship, a successful Australian-based organization that’s featured Hector Lombard, UFC vet Anthony Perosh and other notables.
Aw, Elvis Sinosic doesn’t even get listed by name any more? And Setanta Sports is just as fringe a channel as it sounds. Just to give you some perspective on that 80,000 homes number: when the WEC on Versus draws 416,000 viewers, that’s considered shitty. Obviously there are different standards for different markets, but when it’s literally impossible for the WEC to grow beyond 80k viewers, that’s kinda balls. The deal is pretty much a throwaway deal – ‘why not?’ is how I’d describe it, which implies to me that there wasn’t anything better that was even close to a possibility.
But hey, there may be a silver lining in all this: the fact that the WEC is inking TV deals might mean that Zuffa brass isn’t about to pull the trigger and fold the WEC into the UFC any time soon, or at least not in any way where the WEC ceases to exist as a whole. And the WEC on TV in Oz is better than the WEC not being on TV in Oz. It’s just on probably one of the shittiest channels out there.