US sports giant ESPN’s live broadcast of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) resumption on 9th May pulled in over 700,000 pay-per-view (PPV) purchases, according to the Sports Business Journal (SBJ).
Initially scheduled to go ahead in New York on 18th April before being postponed as a result of coronavirus pandemic, UFC 249 returned behind closed doors in Florida, with ESPN+ holding exclusive US PPV rights to the principal battle card as part of its air venture with the Endeavor-owned mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
Disney’s over-the-top (OTT) sports subscription service also revealed the preliminary bouts prior to the lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, although earlier matchups were made on the UFC’s Fight Pass streaming support.
UFC president Dana White said that the occasion was”proof” that professional sports can reunite amid the health catastrophe”under the right guidelines”. White made that announcement despite Brazilian heavyweight Jacare Souza testing positive for Covid-19 from the build-up to the event and being forced to drop out.
The decision to proceed with the UFC’s resumption will prompt the return of additional MMA promotions in america, while White has also declared that a subsequent UFC event will probably be held in Las Vegas on 23rd May.
With no fans in the venue, UFC 249 included several inventions to boost the home-viewing experience. The manufacturing team deployed more microphones in the octagon to compensate for no audience noise and concentrated the cameras on the activity.
Talking to SBJ, Craig Borsari, the UFC’s executive vice president of production and operations, stated:”It came off looking like it was a standard event, which will be exactly what our objective was.
“We weren’t going to shy away from any shots and had empty chairs because that’s the situation that we’re in. But, at precisely the exact same timewe wanted to present a product which appeared as close to what we have done in the past as possible.”
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