The UFC have today unveiled a new three-year television deal in the UK with upstart network BT Sport.
Based in the UK, BT are one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and BT Sport, which launches this summer, is their latest venture consisting of two channels plus an ESPN branded channel.
BT Sport already has signed up to deliver 38 premiership soccer matches per year for the next three years along with premiership rugby for four years, while they are also believed to have the motoGP in their sights as they attempt to establish a viable competitor for the current market leader in the UK, Sky Sports.
A major difference between this and previous TV deals the UFC has struck in the UK is that BT Sport are committed to providing original programming aimed at the UK audience along with the usual live events and subsidiary programming we’ve come to expect from these agreements.
“This agreement is a landmark step in UFC’s development in the UK as it will increase our exposure to a much wider and more mainstream sporting audience,” the UFC’s Executive Vice President Gary Cook says of the new deal. “It means that the UK joins USA, Canada, Australia and Brazil as one of our largest TV broadcast markets.”
“We’re delighted to have signed this agreement with UFC,” stated BT Sport head Simon Green. “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”.
At this stage the big question mark for UK fans is how much it’s going to cost to subscribe to BT Sport, and whether customers currently on the Virgin Media service which broadcast the UFC on ESPN UK over the past few years will have access to the new channels when they launch.
It’s expected that more details on the network will be available soon so hopefully that will fill in the blanks.