The UFC renewed their contract with BT Sport. BT Sport has been the exclusive provider of UFC content in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Content is king and the UFC creates a lot of it. BT Sport will broadcast at least 150 hours of programming. Above is a video that BT Sport has produced in the past. BT Sport says that the current deal has been a, “hugely successful partnership.”
Specifics on the, deal such as the financial impact on the UFC’s bottom line, have not been released. What is known is that BT Sport will televise every main fight card but will not include any of the over-the-top programming that can be found on Fight Pass.
James Elliott, the GM and VP of UFC EMEA said:
“BT Sport provides the perfect platform on which to continue to grow the sport of MMA and UFC. The potential for growth for both organisations is huge and we are delighted to be continuing our partnership and to be building something special.”
The new deal expires in 2018.
The fear of a television rights deal bubble has not been a concern thus far for both the UFC and WME-IMG. Without knowing any real specifics on the current UFC deal with BT Sport we can only speculate on what, “hugely successful,” means.
The timing of the expiration is noteworthy. In 2018 the UFC will begin discussions with FOX about renewing their television deal. WME-IMG and the UFC must have a two and three-year plan that they are very confident in. Television rights costs have been dropping at a slow pace and that trend could be continuing to go down leaving the UFC with a worse deal than they could get now. Ariel Emanuel, co-CEO at WME-IMG, brokered the deal between the UFC and FOX the first time around so the deal and its success is not a mystery to him.
The television and ratings success will be one of the must-watch statistics the next three years because it will have a direct impact on if the UFC can get their projected $400 million annual rights fee from FOX that would increase revenue by more than 50%.