Junior Cigano made history for more than becoming UFC heavyweight champion. In overcoming Cain Velasquez this Saturday, he participated in the first live UFC broadcast on network television in both the USA and in Brazil, where audience champion Globo showcased the main event. According to UFC president Dana White, around 60 million people watched the UFC in Brazil.
The solid numbers had the promotional top dog comparing the country to the Canadian market. It was in Canada, after all, where the UFC took its largest gate ever.
Proof of its success, on January 14 the event returns to Brazil, where the audience is skyrocketing across the board – on network TV and in pay-per-view sales.
On cable channel SporTV, for example, the UFC 139 broadcast, featuring BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz, even without a single Brazilian on the card, was a success. The channel led the time slot, with numbers more than twice what the second-placed channel was getting. Around 1.3 million people tuned in to SporTV during the broadcast.
The number of subscribers to Combate channel, which holds broadcast rights until 2014, rose a great deal in 2011. According to an article in “Folha de São Paulo” newspaper, there are already 160,000 regular subscribers.
The new TV contract in Brazil guarantees Globo the right to broadcast on network television all the UFC events held in Brazil and another three held abroad. The other events are left for Combate, which also holds the internet broadcast rights and is the only channel to broadcast all the fights, including the under card.
“Having the rights to these broadcasts in place at the precise moment when MMA is starting to be aired on Globo kicks off a great cycle for Globosat’s fight channel. An MMA event being shown on network television promotes interest in the style, making it more popular,” says the Combate channel marketing team.