Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will need to find a new name for its "Live" series as the "Versus Network" will officially be renamed the "NBC Sports Network" on Jan. 2, 2012.
The Sporting News explains why:
"Our goal is for anyone who sees the name or logo of one of our assets to immediately connect with NBC Sports," said NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus. He will officially announce the name change today at the Television Critics Association tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.
As part of the Versus rebrand, the NBC Sports Group also is updating its logo, making its peacock larger and using new fonts for NBC Sports.
"These rebranding efforts are a major step toward a complete strategic alignment of all our platforms and businesses," Lazarus said.
The UFC still isn't on network television, but it looks like it will be rubbing
elbows feathers with the NBC brand as it continues broadcasting its "Versus" events after the New Year under its new handle.
The next such event (under its existing brand), UFC on Versus 6, will take place on Oct. 1 from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., as reigning bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz defends his 135-pound strap against Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson.
The world's largest fight promotion made its Versus debut with "Vera vs. Jones" back on March 21, 2010, from the 1ST Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, featuring the rise of Jon "Jones" Bones as he obliterated Brandon "The Truth" Vera.
Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the Comcast Corporation's purchase of a 51-percent stake in NBC Universal from General Electric. Not long afterward, the UFC was in talks with NBC/Comcast to purchase a controlling interest in its G4 cable channel, a struggling gaming network that targets a male demographic.
UFC and Spike TV are in the final year of their television contract.
Anyone think the name change will lead to bigger and better things? Or is it just a formality?