Sports

UFC Could Greatly Benefit From WWE Network

It didn’t take long for the UFC backlash to begin when the WWE Network was announced. Immediate comparisons were made to UFC Fight Pass with UFC being heralded as the big loser. Yet a closer look reveals that the UFC could be a big winner here after all.

I am still in the camp of bloggers who believe there isn’t as big of a crossover between the UFC and the WWE as some would lead you to believe. Which is why I was a bit surprised to see the UFC Fight Pass lumped into all of the WWE Network talk online. Why weren’t other streaming companion sites brought into the equation like the UFC? It doesn’t matter because the vast majority of fans like to compare them so I may as well play ball.

The timing of the WWE Network coming only a couple of weeks after the UFC Fight Pass was announced predicated the comparisons. I don’t think anyone praised the UFC’s efforts over the WWE streaming network. Every comparison ended with the UFC being body slammed by the wrestling kingpin. Yet a deeper look at the situation tells me that the UFC may wind up winning very big thanks to the WWE Network.

Let’s start first with pay per view. The WWE will be placing all of their pay per view events on the network at no additional charge. Pay Per View companies are livid at the idea that they will be undercut with some threatening to remove WWE events altogether. This could be absolutely huge for the UFC!

The UFC will be the big and only consistent game in town for the broadcasting companies. Now the UFC will receive a bigger cut of the advertising dollars these same companies would allocate towards the WWE. Whether they all remove the WWE or not, I would suspect that most won’t be as interested in promoting these events. Where does this advertising budget go? It is now allocated to the UFC. This is an immediate win for Zuffa!

What about the fact that fans still have to pay for UFC events? The WWE is a great guinea pig for the UFC. The UFC can sit back and watch how successful or not so successful this network will be. If the WWE Network is successful, the UFC can migrate their pay per view events online. Maybe they stick them on Fight Pass and bump up the subscription rate or they just stream them elsewhere for $30?

Zuffa or anyone else doing pay per view events have to split the revenue 50/50 with the pay per view broadcasting company. You better believe the UFC would love to find a way around this. Maybe the fighters would get a better percentage of the orders if the UFC aren’t splitting revenues with the satellite providers?

If there is this crossover that some believe there is between UFC and WWE fans, choice would be eliminated when it comes to pay per view. If the WWE and UFC have pay per view events on the same weekend, there wouldn’t be any more debate about which show to buy. One would presume that the allocated pay per view budget would go immediately to the UFC. I can’t see this being a big win but it could add a few dollars here and there.

So before you start to tear the UFC a new one when comparing the WWE Network to the UFC Fight Pass you may want to think about the long term ramifications. Maybe in the end the UFC are the smarter ones, sitting back and waiting to see what happens? Believe it or not they are already seeing benefits and with the potential upside, the UFC may wind up cashing on the WWE’s experiment sooner than you think.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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