Report: UFC wants US$100m from next China media rights deal

Report: UFC wants US$100m from next China media rights deal

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New York Post says MMA promoter is in talks with PPTV, Alibaba and Tencent.

Report: UFC wants US$100m from next China media rights deal

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is looking to double the amount it receives for its media rights in China to US$100 million, according to the New York Post.

The US daily reports that the Las Vegas-based mixed martial arts giant has already entered into negotiations over its next media rights deal in the country despite its current five-year agreement signed in 2016 with streaming service PPTV not expiring for several years.

According to the New York Post, the UFC’s existing deal with PPTV is worth a total US$50 million, but the promotion run by Dana White is apparently looking to double those fees so that it receives US$20 million annually.

Citing sources with knowledge of the negotiations, the report adds that the UFC has started talks early in the hope that the timing will allow it to extract more money.

The New York Post says the UFC has so far held talks with the current owner of its media rights, PPTV Sports, as well as tech companies Alibaba and Tencent, which also operate their own streaming services.

Chinese media companies have been spending significant sums on rights to overseas sports competitions in recent times. Tencent’s five-year deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced in July, for example, is worth a reported US$1.5 billion, while English soccer’s Premier League is reportedly receiving US$700 million from its three-year agreement with PPTV.

The UFC will be hoping that its recent efforts in China will see the value of its own media rights in the country go up. In June, the company opened a US$13 million, 93,000 square-foot performance facility in Shanghai to nurture the next generation of talent. The organisation then crowned its first Chinese champion in August when Zhang Weili knocked out Jéssica Andrade in just 42 seconds in Shenzhen. 

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