UFC Deploys Zixi to Acquire Fight Week Events for Global Distribution
WALTHAM, MA, Apr 08, 2013 — Zixi LLC (www.zixi.com) announced today that the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R) (UFC(R)) has partnered with Zixi to stream UFC events, press conferences, weigh-ins and other fight week activities to fans worldwide. UFC is the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization, producing more than 30 live events annually and is the largest pay-per-view (PPV) event provider in the world.
MMA, and the UFC along with it, have experienced explosive growth in popularity in the past decade. UFC fans have grown to expect any-device, any-time access not just to the fights themselves but to all of the content that surrounds the fights and athletes. To meet this demand, UFC has an objective to stream as much content as possible to fans around the world. The UFC has over 200 distribution partners around the world and its programming is available in 145 territories and countries.
The week of an event, the UFC hosts a variety of activities that generate intense interest. Fans want to know more about the athletes — who they are, how they train, even what they eat. Popular live stream content includes UFC weigh-ins. For instance, leading up to UFC(R) on FOX on April 20 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA fans will be able to watch weigh-ins streamed live on UFC.com. The UFC also features local fighters in a global “Fight Club” live stream event where club members around the world can participate by tweeting their own questions to be answered live on stage. The fight week events, which are free, are an important audience build-up to UFC’s PPV content.
Making fight week events available via high quality live streams is a challenge for UFC’s production team because each week’s events originate from a different facility. Operating globally means that UFC’s production staff may not return to a specific facility for two or three years. Availability of leased lines, fiber and satellite uplinks vary and are expensive. The objective to stream everything to satisfy UFC’s fans ran headlong into cost, workflow complication and quality concerns.
Streaming fight week events with Zixi
Late in 2012, UFC learned about Zixi and first used Zixi Feeder to acquire a press conference that was then streamed over the unmanaged Internet from the facility to Zixi Broadcaster running as a cloud service. The stream was downlinked to Zixi Receiver from where it was readied for distributed to UFC’s fans.
“At that first press conference, we simply showed up at the facility, plugged a tiny box into our cameras and an even smaller box to the wall and started streaming. At 3Mbps it looked better than anything we had ever streamed before,” said Christy King, vice president of Technology, Research & Development, UFC. “We were especially pleased with the audio quality — for the first time, fans could clearly hear the questions as well as the athletes’ answers. As a result of that first success — which we have repeated in a variety of venues — we are deploying Zixi across our production infrastructure to expand the quality and quantity of fight week content we make available to our fans.”
Zixi offers a suite of products that delivers guaranteed quality-of-service for studio-quality video on the Internet. Zixi Feeder accepts streams from industry standard encoders and other devices and outputs that content onto the Internet in a format optimized for IP networks. Zixi Broadcaster, running in Zixi’s cloud services or in a customer studio or data center, is a unified video streaming hub for professional contribution and distribution. Zixi Broadcaster supports CDN ingest, live or on-demand streaming to computers, mobile devices and set-top boxes (STBs) for IPTV or OTT applications. Zixi Receiver accepts streams from Zixi Broadcaster and outputs streams to professional equipment in video head-ends.
“UFC’s vision of using the Internet to stream everything shows the way forward for sports video production today,” said Eric Bolten, vice president, strategic accounts, Zixi LLC. “With Zixi, UFC has the flexibility to deliver the content that grows its business and satisfies its fans.”
Zixi (www.zixi.com) is revolutionizing the ingest, transport and delivery of studio-quality video on the Internet. By enabling broadcasters, streaming media companies, enterprises and video equipment manufacturers to use unmanaged IP networks to transport their content, Zixi redefines the cost of acquiring and distributing video. Zixi enables new business models and promotes the creation of new services while delivering extraordinary quality and flexibility. Zixi’s technology eliminates the problems inherent in unmanaged IP networks and delivers video of unprecedented quality with no stutter, packet loss or frame-freeze regardless of network conditions or distance. Customers using Zixi to enhance their users’ experiences include Thompson Reuters, XOS Digital, Stryker and News Corp. Zixi is privately held and based in Waltham, MA.
About the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R)
Universally recognized for its action-packed, can’t-miss events that have sold out some of the biggest arenas and stadiums across the globe, the UFC(R) is the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. Owned and operated by Zuffa LLC, headquartered in Las Vegas and with offices in London, Toronto and Beijing, UFC produces more than 30 live events annually and is the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. In 2012, the UFC burst into the mainstream with a landmark seven-year broadcast agreement with FOX Sports Media Group. The agreement includes four live events broadcast on the FOX network annually, with additional fight cards and thousands of hours of programming broadcast on FOX properties FX and FUEL TV. This also includes the longest-running sports reality show on television, The Ultimate Fighter(R), which airs on FX.
In addition to its reach on FOX, UFC programming is broadcast in over 145 countries, to nearly 800 million TV households worldwide, in 28 different languages. UFC content is also distributed commercially in the United States to bars and restaurants through Joe Hand Promotions, in English throughout Canada via Premium Sports Broadcasting Inc. and Australia via Main Event and in French throughout Quebec via Interbox. The UFC also connects with tens of millions of fans through its website, UFC.com, as well as social media sites Facebook and Twitter. UFC President Dana White is considered one of the most accessible and followed executives in sports, with nearly 2.4 million followers on Twitter. Ancillary UFC businesses include best-selling DVDs and video games, an internationally distributed magazine, UFC.TV offering live event broadcasts and video on demand around the world, a new franchise in development with EA, UFC GYM(R), UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo(R) festivals, branded apparel and trading cards.
Zixi is a trademark of Zixi LLC. UFC is a registered trademark of UFC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.