UFC Reportedly Looking To Acquire G4 Channel, Spike TV Partnership Fracturing

According to multiple reports, the UFC is trying to purchase a stake in the flagging G4 television channel from NBC Universal in hopes of converting the space into an all-UFC network.

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UFC Reportedly Facing $600 Million Sticker Price For NBC Universal's G4 Channel

If the UFC does succeed in purchasing a controlling interest in G4, they're going to have to pay for it. According to reports, the transaction may end up costing the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) approximately $600 million. Bloomberg has the report:

NBC Universal's G4 channel may fetch as much as $600 million in a sale to Ultimate Fighting Championship, according to analysts including David Joyce of Miller Tabak & Co.

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)'s NBC Universal is in talks to sell the video-game channel to UFC, the mixed-martial-arts fighting league, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. G4 reaches 60 million U.S. homes, and may command $5 to $10 per home in a sale, Joyce said. David Bank, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, gave the same estimate.

Negotiations are early and a deal may not be reached, said the people, who aren't authorized to speak publicly. Ultimate Fighting Championship's contract with Viacom Inc. (VIA/B)'s Spike TV ends this year, one of the people said. More broadly distributed cable channels with bigger advertising revenue can fetch as much as $20 per subscriber, Joyce said.

UFC President Dana White insists his organization is talking to "everybody". He also challenged previous financial figures reported in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times regarding payouts the UFC received and asked from Spike TV with respect to licensing rights. SB Nation MMA can confirm the prices listed were meant for the entire duration of the arrangement, not a single calendar year.


Report: UFC Seeking A 60 Percent 'Controlling Interest' Of G4

The New York Times is reporting the UFC is looking to take a 60 percent "controlling interest" of the G4 network. Like the Wall Street Journal it is not known what the cost of this deal might be. It is also not known now close the two sides (UFC and NBC Universal/Comcast) are in the negotiating process. The New York Times reports:

Comcast is in talks to sell a controlling interest in the G4 cable channel to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.


Last fall, the president of UFC, Dana White, predicted in an interview with Broadcasting & Cable that the league would start its own network "within the next couple years." At the time he also expressed an eagerness to bring UFC fights to broadcast television in the U.S. for the first time. Presumably a deal with Comcast could also include specials on the NBC broadcast network, which Comcast also controls.

Representatives for Comcast, G4 and UFC declined to comment Wednesday night. The talks were first reported by the Web site of The Wall Street Journal.

Two of the people with knowledge of the NBCUniversal talks said that UFC, which is privately held, could take ownership of 60 percent or more of G4, which is one of the lowest-rated cable channels in Comcast’s portfolio. Its target audience of men ages 18 to 34 overlaps nicely with UFC’s audience on Spike, a unit of Viacom, which has carried a fighting reality show for the last six years.

Be sure to follow this StoryStream as we continue to report on this situation.


UFC Looking To Acquire G4 Channel, Spike TV Parternship Fracturing

According to a Tweet from New York Times reporter Brian Stelter, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is looking to acquire the NBC Universal-owned G4 gaming network television network. A Wall Street Journal report states there are conflicting accounts with respect to how far along in negotiations the two parties are at this time. There is no financial figure at this time with respect to what the transaction would cost.

G4 is currently in 59 million homes. Spike TV is in 99 million. However, G4 was dropped by carrier DirecTV due to what the satellite cable provider stated was flagging ratings. The UFC would like want or even require a renewed presence on the cable distributor as part of the deal.

As for the UFC's current Viacom-based television partner Spike TV, AOL's Mike Chiappetta believes Spike TV represenatives are preparing for the UFC's departure as an inevitability:

Several Spike employees are openly referring to the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter as "the last season," and as MMA Fighting reported recently, Spike executives have been on site at recent Bellator events, familiarizing themselves with the promotion. According to a source, it's likely that Bellator will return to weekday events, possibly on Thursdays, so as not to directly compete with UFC. Bellator's current broadcast deal is with MTV2, which like Spike, is owned by the media conglomerate Viacom.

The network offers 1080i high definition programming. More on this story as it develops.

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