We’ve known for some time that the UFC’s current TV deal with ESPN in the UK was coming to an end in August of this year, and from the sounds of things it won’t be too much longer before we hear a definitive answer on where the organization will now end up according to Gary Cook, the UFC’s Executive VP and Managing Director in the region.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on the latest edition of The MMA Hour radio show, Cook indicated that a new TV deal could be announced within a matter of weeks, though he was keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of who exactly would win the rights to broadcast UFC coverage.
One’s things for sure though – it won’t be ESPN UK as they have announced that they are leaving the UK market and have now been bought over by British Telecom (BT), the largest telecommunications company in the region.
Cook outlined the fact that SKY remains the UK’s leader in terms of sport coverage, but also indicated that BT do have the ability to give them a run for their money in the marketplace. That suggests that these two networks are likely to be at the forefront of the current negotiations, though he noted that they are also talking to several free-to-air channels as well.
As far as could be ascertained it appears that the UFC’s goal is to have live events on a subscription channel like Sky Sports or the upcoming BT sports channel, while also having a weekly UFC related show (presumably similar to the ‘UFC Tonight’ show on Fuel TV in the U.S) on regular TV to help build interest and awareness about the promotion.
Cook did mention pay-per-view as something they would ideally like to have in place, but UK fans can breathe a sigh of relief that for now that appears to be a long-term goal rather than something that’s going to happen any time soon.
Watch the full interview with Cook below.