Roku is boosting the amount of sports content available on its Broadband set-top box with a new Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) channel just added to its Channel Store. The two companies have agreed to a multi-year deal through which UFC will make all major pay-per-view events available for live viewing on the Roku player.
The first event takes place Saturday, May 29, when Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans will battle it out in a match that will be streamed live from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. In addition to live events, the UFC channel also has an archive of past matches in the UFC Vault, access to live, pre-fight events like official weigh-ins, and video from press conferences held before and after the fights.
While its primary business is still in selling its Internet video set-top boxes, which are priced from $79.99 to $129.99, Roku could add an additional revenue stream by partnering with pay-per-view providers like the UFC. The company is working on adding direct payment capabilities to the Roku player, which would enable users to pay for events from within the video channel.
Roku has streaming content available from a number of video providers, including Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand, but it is increasingly adding live sports content to the mix. It’s had live baseball games available for the past two years through its MLB.tv channel, and it struck a deal with the National Basketball Association last month to add the NBA Game Time channel. Released just in time for the playoffs, NBA Game Time gives fans access to game highlight videos from all the playoff games, as well as game, player and team summaries throughout the playoffs.
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