While they’re currently in between UK television deals, the UFC has managed to get a toehold in China:
Inner Mongolia Television, known as NMTV, is available in 80 million households with the potential to reach 240 million viewers throughout all provinces of China, according to today’s announcement.
“Obviously, China is a huge market, and the Chinese understand the martial arts probably better than anyone else in the world,” UFC President Dana White stated. “It’s a no-brainer that UFC programming will be appreciated in China and will become a big hit for the NMTV network.”
Beginning this month, NMTV will air up to 16 monthly hours of UFC-related programming, including “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, “UFC Unleashed” highlights shows and “UFC All Access” fighter-profile programs. NMTV will also have the option to air recent UFC pay-per-view telecasts.
The programming airs in weekend timeslots.
It’s always hard to guage the awesomeness of a TV deal when you have no idea how good the channel or timeslot is. It could be a MyTV type deal where the ‘available in a large chunk of homes’ bit is negated by the fact that the channel is so fucking bad people program their TVs to skip it. Or it could be an NBC type deal where all the footage gets aired at 3am between poker and Sham-Wow infomercials. But let’s face it: any TV deal in China is better than no TV deal in China.
This is also not the first bit of MMA programming to make it onto the amusingly abbreviated NMTV. The mysterious Art of War promotion – funded by ‘His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi’ – is also featured on the channel.