FX looking to add sports programming

January 31, 2011

The Sports Business Daily reports that Fox executives are looking to include sports programming in hoping to grow FX. They are looking at the Turner Network Television (TNT) model as a template for its foray into sports. Could this new strategy for FX mean an eventual home for the UFC?

Via Sports Business Daily:

The idea is to bring a broadcast model — with a mix of sports and entertainment — to cable, and Fox thinks TNT has the blueprint for how it would look.

Fox executives think live sports are a main reason why TNT has better distribution numbers (100 million to FX’s 96 million), higher subscriber fees (more than $1 to FX’s rate in the mid-40-cents range) and more viewers than FX.

Payout Perspective:

The new focus on sports by FX means another opportunity for the UFC to extend its brand. It was thought that Bellator was in talks with FX for its fourth season but it ended up on MTV2. As we have indicated the past, the UFC to FX is a logical choice to add to the FX lineup. One of the concerns regarding the Bellator-FX relationship was how Bellator would draw fans due to its lack of star power. The UFC would have no problem with star power (e.g., Brock Lesnar, GSP, etc.)

But does FX want the UFC? There are options out there for FX to bid on.

Sports Business Daily writes:

The NFL is expected to make an extra cable package available when its next round of rights come up after the 2013 season. MLB’s rights come up after the 2013 season, and NASCAR’s in 2014. And bidding for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics is expected to start later this year. FX expects to have a seat at the table for most of those.

Will it focus its efforts on bidding for these sports rights? Or, will it consider the UFC as a cost-effective option or complimentary sports programming in addition to one of the above.

There has been much speculation that the UFC could land on FX. As we have noted about the TV landscape, it has solid original programming catering to the M18-49 demo including The Sons of Anarchy and this year, FX premiered, “Lights Out,” a boxing drama. To add the UFC would be a logical extension. The only question would be the negotiations between the two sides. Among the many issues, would Dana White and Fox executives be able to come to a mutual agreement on money and creative control? We will have to wait and see.

6 Responses to “FX looking to add sports programming”

  1. jv on January 31st, 2011 5:04 PM

    At this point you have listed every channel on the dial with the possible exception of the shopping channel but you might have listed them as well. No high ticket channel is going to be interested in pushing the same fare as Joes bargain bin channel down the road. To do so will just cheapen the image of the highend channel. There will be options for the UFC but the idea that they will be on 12 different channels when the next round of negotiations is over is ludicrous. Your starting to sound like the UFC > Network > ESPN > HBO crowd.A little perspective would be nice.

  2. Tweets that mention FX looking to add sports programming : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA -- Topsy.com on January 31st, 2011 5:21 PM

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  3. D.A. on January 31st, 2011 9:09 PM

    Earlier this month, Fox Sports and collegiate athletic conference, Conference USA, signed and agreement.

    “According to terms of the agreement, FSN will showcase a minimum of 20 regular-season football games per season, a minimum of 10 regular-season men’s and five women’s basketball games, and a variety of Olympic sports events. The C-USA football championship game will also be carried on FSN, FX or the FOX Network. FSN programming is distributed nationally to more than 85 million homes through more than two dozen owned and affiliated regional sports networks. Provisions of the new agreement also allow Fox to televise select Conference USA events on FOX Sports, which reaches over 115 million households nationwide, and on FX, FOX’s flagship general entertainment cable network available in over 98 million homes.”

  4. Machiel Van on February 1st, 2011 8:44 AM

    I don’t understand why networks insist on a level of creative control. The UFC has superb production values with their team, so why mess with it? I just think it would be easier to let them do what they are obviously great at than try and insert some homegrown network personalities or production gimmicks. Leave the UFC show the way it is!

  5. Jason Cruz on February 1st, 2011 1:12 PM


    I think whatever deal is made, the network will want to “tweak” the UFC product. Just my opinion. Although we may think the production level is great, others will not. It will be up to the UFC to decide how much it would be willing to give up in creative control. I doubt they change Rogan as a commentator. But, they could add to the broadcast team.

  6. Panama on February 1st, 2011 4:20 PM

    Strikeforce needs to expand its brand and presence too. CBS isnt showing much interest in LIVE MMA.

    Then again SF is with Showtime/CBS, is that a conflict of interest by going to FX who’s owned by Fox?

    It’s going to be a matter of time when major networks get on board with Live MMA events. If CBS isn’t going to be the premiere network, someone else will. Im just saying !

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