Spike TV and the UFC Sign new deal
SPIKE TV AND THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP® BRAND ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
FOR 2005 AND 2008
Exclusive Deal Includes Two New Seasons of "The Ultimate Fighter™," LIVE Fights, Plus 26 UFC Specials
NEW YORK, NY, May 3, 2005
Spike TV and The Ultimate Fighting Championship® organization have agreed to a two-year strategic partnership, it was announced jointly today by Doug Herzog, President, Spike TV and Dana White, President, Zuffa, LLC d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship®. The main components of the deal are new seasons of the highly-rated reality series, The Ultimate Fighter™, which will premiere Monday, August 22 at 11:00pm ET/PT. In addition the deal includes six LIVE fight cards - two this year and four in '06. The announcement comes on the heels of the finale of The Ultimate Fighter which drew 2.6 million viewers and more Men 18-34 than CBS's Masters golf tournament coverage on Saturday, April 9.
"The UFC® brand is a sports entity on the rise and we are thrilled to continue our already successful relationship with them," said Herzog. "The passion and dedication that Dana White brings to the sport of mixed martial arts and the brand is the driving force behind its success."
"We always knew that Spike TV would be an incredible partner to work with and one of the best places for our product to be viewed. We were right on both counts," noted White.
“The Ultimate Fighter is a show like none other and it found its audience like a heat seeking missile from the beginning. It continues to beat down the competition and we can’t wait to produce the next two seasons,” said Craig Piligian, the executive producer for the show.
The Spike TV deal includes the following:
• A second and third season of the highly successful reality series, The Ultimate Fighter. Production for Season 2 will begin in early June and consist of eight heavyweights and eight welterweights. Celebrity coaches and a host are to be announced. The show will once again be taped in Las Vegas where the company maintains its UFC® Training Center.
• Six LIVE fight cards featuring some of the well-known names from UFC sporting events. Two will be in '05 and four in '06.
• 26 one-hour episodes of an untitled series of great moments from the UFC® vast library of fight footage.
Season #1 (13 weeks) of The Ultimate Fighter averaged a 1.7 HH rating (1.5 million) with a 2.0 (1,015,000) in M18-49 a 2.4 (604,000) in M18-34 and an average audience of 2.1 million viewers. Forrest Griffin (light heavyweight) and Diego Sanchez (middleweight) were The Ultimate Fighter champions for the premiere season and each received a six-figure deal with the UFC® organization. Stephan Bonnar was also awarded a contract after his epic battle in the Finals versus Griffin. The audience peaked during the Bonnar/Griffin fight with 3.3 million viewers.
Craig Piligian of Pilgrim Films and Television, Frank Fertitta III, Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White of Zuffa, LLC are the show's executive producers. Jim Burns is Senior Vice President, Sports & Specials, Spike TV and serves as Executive in Charge of Production for Spike TV.