UFC to Buy G4, Leaving Spike TV?

UFC has had a long and storied relationship with Spike TV since they premiered on the network for 2005’s “The Ultimate Fighter.” As their deal with Spike nears its end, even UFC President Dana White has dropped hints about the proposition of the UFC starting their own network. According to several sources, negotiations with the network “came to a halt after the organization proposed a significant increase in their annual payment, from $170 million to $325 million a year.”

The New York Times reports that Comcast has opened discussions to sell controlling interest of the G4 cable channel to the UFC.

According to the report:

Representatives for Comcast, G4 and Ultimate Fighting Championship declined to comment Wednesday. Two of the people with knowledge of the NBC-Universal talks said that Ultimate Fighting Championship, 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 intended audience of men ages 18 to 34 overlaps well with Ultimate Fighting Championship’s audience on Spike, a unit of Viacom, which has carried a fighting reality show for the last six years.

UFC and NBC Universal representatives were said to have met on Wednesday in New York, and the deal that was rumored to have been discussion was that UFC would purchase a 60 percent ownership of G4. The channel was removed from DirectTV’s lineup in November and remains one of Comcast’s lowest-performing. There is potential that UFC could see specials being aired on NBC or the rebranded Versus/NBC Sports with the deal.

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Source: The New York Times