The UFC is putting online boots on the ground in mainland China.
The company announced a “long-term strategic agreement” with Chinese online sports portal SINA Sports. Terms were not released, but according to the UFC, the deal gets UFC events live streamed to the mainland.
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SINA Sports will also reboot the UFC’s Chinese website, optimizing it for mobile and making it more interactive with digital UFC content. They receive local live broadcasting rights for events that feature Chinese fighters.
Both companies have pledged to work together exchange content, with SINA producing local content help increase the UFC footprint.
The UFC has moved towards an international push for several years now, entering new markets in Europe and Asia.
China has always been an interesting puzzle. Until the deal, UFC exposure was primarily limited to Macau, which started in 2012.
Previously in 2010, RUFF (Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation) was the only MMA organization sanctioned by the Chinese government.
“China’s domestic sports industry is clearly booming,” Kenneth Berger, UFC Executive Vice President and General Manager said. “We felt that SINA Sports was a great fit for the UFC brand and would contribute greatly to our effort to expand our content and coverage to the large and loyal fan base across mainland China.”
“Our strategic cooperation with UFC will not only influence the domestic following of UFC, but also it is an important opportunity for the domestic Chinese sports media to expand their coverage of UFC events,” Arthur Wei, Senior Vice-President of SINA and GM of SINA Sports added. “The influx of high-quality, content-rich Chinese reporting and the engagement of a new, growing Chinese fan base will no doubt add fuel to the fire of UFC’s prowess in the world of sports. As this partnership demonstrates, both UFC and SINA Sports are committed to expand UFC’s profile and fan base in China. Enhanced coverage and content available on the SINA platform and on ufc.cn will go a long way to achieving these aims.”