The UFC is in advanced negotiations with multiple Brazilian outlets for new broadcast deals that would kick off in 2023.
MMA Fighting reported in March that UFC’s contract with giant media conglomerate Globo and Globo-owned pay-per-view channel Combate will be completed by the end of 2022 and both sides were far from reaching a new deal. Even though the UFC is planning on launching Fight Pass in the country starting 2023, the MMA organization still wants to ink a deal with a network television to continue to expand its brand in Brazil.
Band, the fourth-largest Brazilian television network in audience and revenue, is the current frontrunner to replace Globo, as reported on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. Band is investing heavily in sports over the past few years, recently expanding its deal with Formula 1 until 2025. The F1 rights in Brazil were owned by Globo for the past four decades. Band also owns the rights to air NBA games on network TV in the country.
UFC’s offer to Band includes 12 cards to air on network TV with Brazilian fighters in the main event. Brazilians have headlined from 12 to 16 UFC cards a year between 2018 and 2021, and eight main events already in 2022. Globo was offered the same deal, but wasn’t interested. ESPN Brasil, which currently airs Bellator events in the country, also had brief conversations with the UFC.
The UFC is also having conversations with UOL, one of the most visited websites in the country. It’s still unclear what role UOL would play in the business, but Band’s website is currently hosted on UOL’s website.
While they aim for deals with traditional media in the country, the UFC is also investing in more modern avenues as they approach a deal with Brazilian sensation Gaulês, one of the biggest Twitch streamers on the planet.
Gaulês holds impressive numbers in terms of concurrent viewers records (708,000), total followers (3,6 million) and total views (405 million) on the streaming platform. Gaulês, who has a sponsorship deal with Nike, also broadcasts NBA games on Twitch. According to TwitchTracker, the Brazilian streamer airs 22 hours of content a day with a total of 281,551 hours watched daily.
The UFC still has a little over five months left in its contract with Globo, but for now, it seems they are going different directions in 2023.