UFC announces subscription based digital network for international events

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The UFC will push many international events off of the Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 platforms and onto a new digital subscription service starting with the January 4 card from Singapore.

It looks like your UFC habit just got more expensive.

The UFC has announced that future international events are going to move away from the Fox Sports 1/Fox Sports 2 broadcast model and to a new subscription based digital network. USA Today has the news:

The new year will bring a new online distribution platform for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Officials from the largest mixed martial arts promotion soon will announce a new subscription-based digital network.

UFC officials confirmed their plans to USA TODAY Sports, and a formal announcement will be scheduled later this month.

...

While UFC officials would not reveal an expected pricing structure for the platform, the network will feature live and on-demand programming, including more than a dozen live fight cards beginning with UFC Fight Night 34 on Jan. 4 at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Other events, such as the March 8 event in London will also be on the new platform.

The obvious benefit is that local markets can have events scheduled in times that make sense, rather than pushed to odd morning or evening hours to accommodate live broadcasts in the US. For example, according to the article the Singapore card will air live on the platform at 6:30 a.m. ET (3:30 a.m. PT), which is 7:30 p.m. local time, rather than flipping it to start it at 7:30 a.m. local just to broadcast at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Of course, that means that UFC fans in America are going to have to pay extra for the digital service and will have to be awake at odd times to catch the fights live.

With the "50 UFC cards" initiative for next year, there's a natural sacrifice here where not every card will be seen by many fans in the U.S. market.

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