The International Fight League announced today that it has formed a video sharing partnership with YouTube and Google AdSense that would deliver IFL content — including full-length fights — to thousands of websites around the world that use AdSense and YouTube players (including YouTube itself, obvi). Though YouTube has had similar partnerships with the NBA and NHL, this is the first video sharing deal it has struck with an MMA organization. The arrangement also includes a revenue sharing model that would allow the IFL to generate income from advertisements shown with its videos. According to the press release:
The first major test of the partnership will occur in the coming week, when the IFL makes the fights from its November 3 World Grand Prix available to the MMA audience for the first time through YouTube. MyNetworkTV showed two of the fights in their live airing on broadcast television; the remaining seven bouts will now be seen for the first time through this partnership.
This is pretty damn clever, if you ask me. Since the IFL is still on the come-up, the big money for the organization won’t be in live gates or pay-per-view (at least not yet). Instead, they’re making pioneering moves in network television — something the UFC is still chasing — and exploiting the Internet for exposure and revenue. It’s all very “New Model,” and probably the only way a young fight league would be able to survive in the long term, with the market as crowded as it currently is. I’m pulling for them hard, and you should too. After all, this is the league that found a place for Pat Miletich, Bas Rutten, Don Frye and both Shamrock brothers — they’re the good guys.