Christy King

The Ultimate Fighting Championship had
a busy 2011, with the sport’s burgeoning
popularity resulting in a landmark deal
with Fox, giving mixed martial arts its widest
reach yet. As part of the agreement, the UFC
was set to increase its original programming
output from 90 to 350 hours per year.

And that meant it was time for Christy
King, VP, digital, technology research &
development for UFC, to start making some
spirited moves and holds.

King was tasked with developing a technological
platform for production and asset
management that would efficiently distribute
content to Fox’s networks, including Fox
Deportes, FX, Fuel TV, Speed and all the
regional sports networks. “It was a darn good
thing I started working on this asset management
system about a year before we had our
deal with Fox go through,” says King.

In addition to her work for the UFC, King
oversees all technology development for the
MMA outfit’s parent company, Zuffa, a position
she was promoted to in March.

King says that since the UFC has a youngskewing
audience, its fans are more likely to
view content online or on their mobile devices.
“Digital has evolved [along with] what you
can do in the digital space,” she says. “Bandwidth
is now huge and very accessible, so you
can put everything online that primarily you
could only put on television before.”

It’s not just male viewership that UFC and
Fox are after either; King says they have noticed
that female viewership has risen overseas,
in particular for the sport’s reality program,
The Ultimate Fighter. “It’s a way for not
only women, but anybody that’s new to the
sport, to get to know these guys,” says King.

The female landscape in sports has certainly
changed from when King first started. She
recalls a time when she would often be the
only woman in the room.

“When I first started out, I experienced
those side comments,” says King. “But that
was 25 years ago.”

King says that since those early days are
long gone, she doesn’t feel singled out
because of her gender. She partly attributes
that to the fact that more women are popping
up within the industry, but cautions that they
still have a ways to go. “We’re still very much
the minority,” she says.

Still, she’s proud to be a part of the industry.
“If you’re interested in technology and in
telling a story, there’s just no place better to
be,” King says.