The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today that they have just signed a broadcast agreement with BT for its UK and Ireland television rights. Originally produced UFC programming will be shown on the new BT Sport channels, which are due to be launched very soon.
The UFC plan to grow interest in their brand and the sport by delivering a range of localized and original content on top of more than 30 live broadcasts from around the globe. BT will begin airing UFC programming from the summer, with the premiere event, UFC 163, live on August 3.
The three-year partnership will see all of UFC’s live and taped programming broadcast on the BT Sport channels. Also, fans will be able to enjoy episodes of The Ultimate Fighter, which is the world’s longest-running sports reality TV show.
Here is what Garry Cook, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of UFC EMEA, had to say:
“The keys to success for UFC, in broadcast terms, are to identify strategic partners who are committed to building the business together beyond just airing non-European premium live content. UFC athletes are the most committed and dedicated in the world of sport and this new relationship will help people gain a more in depth understanding of the sport and our brand.”
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will join a roster of other sports being shown on the BT Sport channels including Barclays Premier League football, FA Cup, Aviva Premiership Rugby union and the WTA tour.
Here is what Simon Green, Head of BT Sport, had to say:
“We’re delighted to have signed this agreement with UFC. We’ve said BT Sport will offer a wide range of sports that appeal to different audiences and we know that UFC has a huge, committed fanbase in the UK and Ireland and we hope they will be excited about our plans to develop the coverage of the sport.”
The UFC’s not so popular deal with ESPN UK finishes on August 1, which marks the end of a TV partnership that has been in place since 2009. Due to various reasons ESPN recently decided to sell their assets to BT Sports, making way for the new deal that should bring UK and Irish fight fans the coverage they have been waiting for.
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