UFC signs content partnership with Facebook to boost PPV sales
UFC, the international mixed martial arts series owned by Endeavor, today announced a partnership with Facebook to distribute exclusive promotional content for its events through the popular social media platform.
As part of a one-year agreement, UFC will produce three original shows for Facebook Watch, the social media giant’s video service.
The content will be linked to a total of 20 UFC events, 12 pay-per-view and eight ‘Fight Night’ events, and will be available for free on the platform.
UFC said the partnership will “drive awareness of UFC’s pay-per-views and ‘Fight Night’ broadcasts on ESPN and other broadcast partners around the world.”
The MMA series has a global following of 26 million on Facebook.
The partnership has been signed ahead of this weekend’s UFC 246 event in Las Vegas, USA, headlined by Conor McGregor’s bout with Donald Cerrone.
UFC’s original content on Facebook Watch will include a live-streaming interview show during the preliminary fights of UFC’s events, an on-demand series with athletes discussing upcoming fights, and episodes of ‘Inside the Octagon’, which features analysis and previews of events.
Dave Shaw, UFC’s senior vice-president of international and content, said: “Our primary objective is to push viewership and transactions to our pay-per-views and Fight Nights on our broadcast partners around the world. Facebook is a powerful promotional platform that allows us to reach our global fan base, so we are working with them to create promotional content to engage our fans and to drive awareness of our biggest events.”
Devi Mahadevia, Facebook director of emerging and digital sports partnerships, added: “UFC has built a strong business on Facebook by using our tools to cultivate a thriving community, promote its events and generate meaningful revenue and we couldn’t be more excited to support those efforts further with this content partnership.”
UFC revealed it generated over $1 million in advertising revenue on Facebook in 2019 through its content on the platform.
ESPN+, the OTT streaming service of the Walt Disney-owned US sports network, is the exclusive distributor of UFC's pay-per-view events in USA in a $1.5-billion deal that runs to 2025.
Meanwhile, new analysis by Nielsen shows that McGregor remains the dominant figure in UFC on social media despite him not having fought in some 15 months.
The Irishman’s following on Instagram now stands at 33.5 million, nearly double the 17.7 million of UFC itself.
Ahead of his clash with Cerrone on Saturday, Nielsen found that McGregor had drawn five times more engagement on Twitter than his opponent in the last month.
McGregor fights alone generate five times more discussions on Twitter using the UFC dedicated hashtag for the event, compared to UFC events without him.
This weekend marks McGregor's first UFC fight since his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in October 2018.Sportcal