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The business of UFC

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Old 11-09-2006, 12:09 PM
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I had brought this up a little while ago and I have been amazed at the growth. This article gave a great behind the scenes of the UFC organization.

Have you ever watched the UFC reality show on Spike TV? This article gives a little background on how it got started.

Did you know the UFC is owned by the Fertitta brothers?

What's your view on the UFC now? Is it a good business to be in or not?

The ultimate fighting machines - The Fertitta brothers have turned their dad's suburban Las Vegas casino into Station Casinos (Charts), the fifth-biggest gaming company in the country, a gambling and hotel empire that took in more than $1.1 billion in revenue last year and earned $309 million, more than 17 times what it made in 2002. Its stock has soared nearly eightfold over the past five years.

As a hobby, the Fertittas bought the most damaged, worthless brand in America that doesn't make cars - the Ultimate Fighting Championship - and turned it into one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, with higher ratings and more coveted ringside seats than boxing.

By 2004 they were $34 million deep into the UFC and had little to show for it.

Having allowed the Discovery Channel to shoot the reality show American Casino at Green Valley, the brothers decided that a series where a bunch of UFC fighters live together and face weekly elimination in the ring was their Trojan horse for getting on television. Their pitch was turned down by every network. So they made Spike TV, the only channel specifically designed for overly testosteroned young men, an offer it couldn't refuse: The Fertittas agreed to produce the $10 million show themselves; Spike could just air it with no production costs.

The show the Fertittas put together, called Ultimate Fighter, debuted last year, became the anemic channel's first hit, and made White a TV star. Between live bouts, taped fights, wrap-up programs, and the fourth season of the reality show, Spike TV now beams an average of 15 hours of UFC programming each week. The live fight that ended Ultimate Fighter last season drew more viewers than any HBO boxing match this season and twice as many as a Nascar race televised at the same time.

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