Recently ring sports event distributors like HBO, Showtime and the WWE have used social media sites like Facebook to help build awareness and promote their respective cable network and pay-per-view shows.
Saturday the UFC will take the social media experience one step further by offing several undercard matches from its UFC Fight Night 24 event live on Facebook prior to Spike TV’s four-fight live telecast of the event. UFC initially tapped Facebook to distribute live fights as part of its Fight for the Troops 2 event this past January, according to Yahoo Sports.
By offering free fights on popular Facebook service, the mixed martial arts organization gets to promote its popular sport to casual sports fans while rewarding its hardcore fans with UFC action that wouldn’t be seen outside of KeyArena in Seattle where the event is being held.
Spike officials welcome the added web exposure for the event. “Anytime you have people that are excited to watch [UFC bouts] on the web its good for us – they’ll know to turn to Spike for the main events,” said Spike spokesman David Schwartz.
UFC Fight Night marks the beginning of a big week for Spike and the UFC. The male-targeted network will debut season 13 of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter reality series on March 30. The new season will feature UFC legend Brock Lesnar and UFC heavyweight Junior Dos Santos as coaches to up-and coming welterweight fighters looking to win a UFC contract.
Lesnar and Dos Santos will eventually meet in the octagon in a major UFC event this June.
Spike will launch TUF 14 this fall before the network’s current distribution deal with UFC expires at the end of the year.