The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) extended its broadcast partnership with UK-Pay-TV network BT Sport into 2019 in the wake of lapsing of its deal with Eleven Sports.
As per the partnership deal, BT Sport will have all exclusive rights to all live UFC main card events and over 100 hours of Non-live programming.
Earlier this week, it came to light that UFC is exiting the contracts between them and Eleven Sports which was signed back in September.
Notably, Eleven’s contract was due to begin in January when BT Sport’s contract signed in 2013 with the UFC expired but that deal has now renewed.
It marks a turnaround for BT and hints at a cut-price deal, with the broadcaster having decided to abandon the UFC over costs earlier this year. At the time Marc Allera, head of BT Consumer, said of the move: “It’s like a big football club in the transfer window. If a striker is worth £50 million I won’t pay £70 million for him. At the wrong price, everything is expendable.”
The first UFC event of the new BT deal will see Olympic gold medalist and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo take on bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw at London’s O2 Arena on 19th January.
Commenting on the new deal, David Shaw, UFC senior vice president international and content, said: “BT Sport have proven to be an engaged, committed and passionate partner. We have worked closely together to grow the sport, brand and athletes in the UK and Ireland over the past five years. Our fans have made it clear how much they enjoy BT’s coverage of UFC and we are delighted to continue our partnership with them.”
Andy Haworth, managing director of strategy and content at BT’s consumer division, added: “BT Sport and UFC have been partners since our launch in 2013, and we’re delighted this will now continue. We’ve worked hard to offer fans high quality, fresh and innovative UFC coverage across all of our channels, and in particular on social media, which fans are responding really well to. This is great news for our viewers who can continue to enjoy UFC with BT Sport.”