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Disney Reportedly Explored Buying UFC in 2016

“Bob Iger thought the sport was “too bloody and violent” for Disney’s family orientated brand image.”

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Now that streaming giants like Amazon and Apple+ have dipped their toes in the world of live sports, these massive companies are reportedly seeking out more. According to an article from CNBC, a number of these companies could potentially acquire the rights to more ‘niche’ sports like UFC, WWE and Formula 1.

Before UFC signed an exclusive deal with ESPN, the combat sports company almost negotiated a deal with the network’s parent company Disney. According to a source cited in the article, Disney had negotiated terms with the combat sports giant to acquire the company for about $4.3 billion.

However, that deal eventually fell through because then-president Bob Iger thought the sport was “too bloody and violent” for Disney’s family orientated brand image. UFC was eventually bought by The Endeavor Group (then known as WME) back in 2016 for $4 billion. Two years later, ESPN snagged the TV rights, paying $1.5 million, with their streaming service also inking a $150 million per year deal to stream UFC fights.

After signing with the worldwide leader in sports, the UFC instantly increased their value to $7 billion according to UFC’s president Dana White. The deal is just another indication of the rising value for sports broadcasting rights which gives advisers a unique opportunity as more and more people are cutting the cord from cable but are still tuning in to watch their favorite teams and athletes.

LightShed analyst Rich Greenfield believes that instead of Disney paying for the UFC’s TV rights, it would’ve been a lot smarter to just buy the UFC outright rather than spending billions on licensing.

“Disney would have been far smarter to buy UFC than spend this much to license,” Greenfield said. “Now the costs are going way up. Owning a league makes a ton of sense.”

Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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Sports TV News

NFL Flex Scheduling Forces ESPN To Change Bowl Schedule

Jordan Bondurant

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The NFL flex scheduling an upcoming Las Vegas Radiers game out of Sunday Night Football on December 18 has forced ESPN to make a slight adjustment with its college bowl season schedule. But the change was something the worldwide leader was prepared to make.

The Raiders were originally scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the primetime window a week before Christmas, but with both teams losing ground in terms of the AFC playoff picture, NBC opted to go with a different game that night instead. Now fans will be tuning in to see the rematch between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.

The shift out of the Sunday night window for the Raiders forced ESPN to swap kickoff times for the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl the day before on December 17. Florida and Oregon State will play in Vegas at 2:30 p.m. eastern, with BYU and SMU facing off in Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m.

The switch allows workers at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas enough time to switch the venue over from college bowl game to Raiders home game.

“We are accustomed to flexibility and we anticipated having to maneuver our event schedules based on the possibility of the Raiders game being flexed,” said ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby.

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FOX Scores Most-Watched PAC-12 Championship Game Ever

Jordan Bondurant

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Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game between Utah and USC drew the largest audience in the game’s history, according to FOX.

Over 6.2 million tuned in to watch the Utes dominate the Trojans 47-24 and dash USC’s hopes at making the College Football Playoff.

The network said viewership was up 45% compared to the 2021 title game, which aired on ABC and also featured Utah. The Utes won the conference crown in convincing fashion that year too, posting a 38-10 victory over Oregon.

The Pac-12 will be without USC and UCLA as member schools following the 2023 season. The Trojans and the Bruins will join the Big Ten in 2024.

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