As it continues to negotiate its linear and streaming future, the UFC has made a deal with Amazon to make the mixed-martial arts circuit’s pay-per-view events available on a one-off basis through the retailer’s Prime Video platform.
Starting today, U.S. customers can pre-order March 3 event UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya for $64.99 without a Prime membership. More than 600 devices can connect the Prime Video app to TVs, gaming consoles and mobile.
Upcoming UFC PPV events on Prime Video will be available for pre-order and can be purchased up to four hours after they start. Customers will have rewind capability of up to an hour during the live event and will have access to replay coverage for 24 hours.
The UFC’s numbered PPV events feature the sport’s top match-ups and athletes and include several Main Card fights on a near-monthly basis throughout the year. At the top of the bill for No. 222 is the bout between Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya, followed by Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega. The names aren’t quite at household level as the UFC undergoes a major talent refresh, with established stars of the decade like Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar either gone or on a long detour from the octagon. That’s been one of the main factors suppressing ratings for prime-time UFC showcases on Fox and FS1 under the current TV deal, which expires at the end of 2018.
For Endeavor, the WME-IMG parent that paid $4B for UFC in 2016, the addition of Amazon is an important piece in the effort to build a path for Ultimate Fighting that goes beyond the linear TV broadcasts or even traditional MVPD-controlled pay-per-view.
Well aware of the opportunity in the sports space, Amazon has been adding a range of live and on-demand sports content to Prime Video of late. While NFL Thursday Night Football was probably the splashiest, at least Stateside, the streaming service also has auto racing, beach volleyball and tennis, plus original series set in the worlds of college football, soccer’s Premiere League and rugby.