BT Sport has fought off ESPN to gain the rights to show the Ultimate Fighting Championships in the UK.
The three-year deal will see the mixed martial arts tournament come to BT Sport. The sport is currently broadcast by ESPN in the UK. BT will also show original programming with magazine-style shows to run alongside live fights.
“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,” said BT Sport head Simon Green.
“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,” said UFC’s executive vice president Gary Cook. “It means that the UK joins USA, Canada, Australia and Brazil as one of our largest TV broadcast markets.”
“BT Sport certainly shares our vision for the premium quality broadcast of elite performance sport for our UK audience and we’re very excited about the strategic partnership we’ve entered into. We look forward to working alongside them and showing a wider fan base how exciting and engaging the UFC is,” Cook added.
The contract will result in up to 400 hours of TV programming aimed at UFC’s fanbase. It also bolsters BT Sport’s roster to sports programming. UFC will be show alongside Barclays Premier League football, FA Cup, Aviva Premiership Rugby union and the WTA tour.
BT is due to launch the BT Sport Channel at an event at the Olympic park in Stratford this Thursday.