Variety is reporting that both HBO and ESPN are negotiating with the UFC to gain rights to the growing sport. HBO is interested in premium fights while ESPN may be seeking rights to highlights as well as smaller events like UFC Fight Nights. Here’s an excerpt from the report:
“[HBO], which airs many of the premiere boxing bouts, has held negotiations with top mixed martial arts org Ultimate Fighting Championship about rights to its top-level fights.
“We are talking to the UFC and looking at ways we can distinguish ourselves in that area,” acknowledged HBO topper Chris Albrecht.
Sports leader ESPN confirms that it has held exploratory talks with the UFC to, um, fishhook some rights.”
These are the next big steps in getting more main stream success for the sport. Spike TV has handled the UFC exceptionally well but it is just not a big enough network for an organization with such broad goals as the UFC. ESPN would give the UFC the most exposure to it’s core demographic of middle-age males but HBO would offer the organization a more premium outlet.
(via The EvilMaster Report)