UFC to stay on BT Sport after Eleven Sports deal falls through
BT Sport has negotiated a new broadcast rights deal for coverage of UFC in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The contract, which begins in January, will see all live UFC numbered and Fight Night events shown on BT Sport on TV and on its two digital platforms, BTSport.com and the BT Sport app.
Andy Haworth, managing director of strategy and content in BT Consumer, said: “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.”
For the UFC, the new rights deal replaces a previously agreed commitment with OTT service Eleven Sports.
The UFC announced Eleven Sports as its new TV partner for the UK and Ireland in September but has since exercised an exit clause, citing Eleven’s failure to secure additional carriage agreements. The Eleven Sports deal was also due to commence in January.
Eleven currently holds the rights to show Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga football in the UK and Ireland.
An Eleven Sports spokesperson said: “Without carriage agreements with the existing platforms, alongside the challenges posed by rampant piracy, the current market dynamics in the UK and Ireland are very hostile for new entrants. We are in discussion with our rights partners, La Liga and IMG, about how we can restructure our existing agreements in order to continue our current OTT service.”