UFC continues China expansion with Qutoutiao content deal
UFC, the mixed martial arts promoter owned by Endeavor, the combined Hollywood talent agency and sports and entertainment company, is continuing its expansion in China after signing a partnership with Qutoutiao, the Chinese short-form video platform.
As part of the agreement, UFC will launch an official account on Qutoutiao which will feature live event highlights, athlete features and interviews, a 'knock-out of the week' segment and localised content.
UFC will be Qutoutiao’s first sports property to launch on the app. Qutoutiao is owned by Tencent, the Chinese internet giant.
Kevin Chang, the UFC senior vice president Asia-Pacific, said: "We are always looking at innovative ways to reach more fanbase in China and provide them with premium UFC content.”
In November, UFC announced plans to open an MMA training and development facility in Shanghai, China later this year, as it continues to build its presence in Asia. The multi-million-dollar UFC Performance Institute Shanghai will be opened in the Jing’An district. UFC opened its first performance institute in Las Vegas last year.
UFC also staged its first-ever event in Beijing in November with the ‘UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Ngannou 2’ event at the Cadillac Arena.
Earlier this week, Dana White penned a new seven-year contract to remain as president of UFC. White revealed in an interview on UFC's YouTube channel that he had been offered, and accepted, a contract by Ari Emanuel, co-chief executive of Endeavor.
White has run UFC since 2001, and stayed with the organisation when it was acquired by Endeavor (then WME-IMG) in 2016 for more than $4 billion. It is understood he earned over $350 million from his stake.
Also this week, ESPN+, the OTT streaming service of the Walt Disney-owned US sports network, became the exclusive distributor of UFC's pay-per-view events in USA, in a deepening of the $1.5-billion partnership between the two parties.
The agreement begins on 13 April with the 'UFC 236: Holloway vs. Poirier 2' event, and makes ESPN+ the single point of purchase for consumers of the biggest UFC events annually to 2025.