Morning Buzz

UFC shores up Fight Pass with new content

By Adam Stern

UFC is adding original content to its Fight Pass OTT product to add heft to the platform, including a podcast network and a new comedy show. The MMA property later today will announce “The Nosebleeds,” a new six-episode series with comedians Randy and Jason Sklar, who will commentate classic archived UFC matches from a fictitious “man cave,” as well as perform some original skits. The show recalls “Cheap Seats,” which the Sklar brothers used to host on ESPN Classic. UFC VP & GM of Fight Pass Crowley Sullivan, who formerly ran ESPN Classic: “It’s a great illustration of the willingness to try new things on the part of the team, and (UFC President Dana White’s) support of this project is as important as anything else. UFC Fight Pass has really evolved over the last few years and grown substantially in every way but from the perspective of content creation.”

The second aspect of today’s announcement is a new UFC Fight Pass Podcast Central, which will feature 10 shows at today's launch, with more to be added. It includes some pre-existing podcasts, like the popular "UFC Unfiltered," plus new ones. Other shows include one for gamblers; one that talks to MMA fighters about their love lives; and a fight analysis one hosted by ESPN commentator Jon Anik. Sullivan said that UFC got this idea because “it sort of hit us that there isn’t a single place out there in the podcast space where a fight fan can find and easily engage in a whole array of UFC/MMA-centric podcasts. So we said to ourselves, ‘Fight Pass’ should be the place.’” Fight Pass was one of the original OTT products in sports, having launched in 2013. UFC reports that last year it was up 30% in revenue from the prior year, while subscriber growth was up 25% and total revenue was up 21%.

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