Dana White and the UFC have always embraced social media channels as a way of connecting deeper with their audience. With their Facebook fans growing to over 4.6 Million, and Dana White’s twitter following over 1 million strong, I would say that their strategy is working.

Last Saturday, February 5, 2011, the UFC apparently aired an anticipated fight via livestream exclusively to their Facebook fans, or anyone that “Liked” the UFC Facebook page. The Facebook broadcast ran prior to the SpikeTV showing of the preliminary fights, which then led viewers to the Pay Per View event through their local cable provider.

I see a few interesting things going on here:

1) This is a great way to build up buzz before the main event. Get the fans online and talking about the upcoming Pay Per View event. Hopefully converting any fans still on the fence about ordering the pay per view into paying customers.

2) If they can keep their fans online and commenting during the events, and have fighters comment as well, this makes for a very interesting interactive experience. Dana has always trained his UFC fighters to use Social Media and connect with their fans. So not only does this deepen the relation ship with the UFC brand, but it helps build the brand of each fighter as well.

3) UFC could be setting up to move away from cable providers for their Pay Per View events. They already have a Pay Per View streaming channel on the Roku player, which allows users to stream video content over their internet connection. So by adding another streaming channel, Facebook, they are effectively positioning themselves to bypass the cable tv providers and taking their content directly to their fans.

In college, we always had the conversation that eventually everyone would have their own TV channel. With the tools and bandwidth available today, I think that is now a reality.

I applaud the UFC for giving their fans what they want, and making it easier for new fans to join the ranks. I will be very interested to see how this all plays out, and which other sports follow suit. In my opinion, the cable companies will eventually become internet service providers only. Especially since people and companies are figuring out how to finally cut the middle man out of the equation.

If you would like to read the original article that inspired this posting, visit the Fast Company article here.

As always, I welcome any thoughts, comments, or questions. Just post them in the space provided by clicking “Comments” below.