Eleven Sports takes over UFC rights from BT Sport

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Eleven Sports and UFC have announced a new partnership that will see the online streaming service take over from BT Sport as the exclusive UK broadcaster of all UFC events from 2019.

The online broadcaster has secured the rights to all 42 live UFC events in 2019, as well as over 150 hours of UFC original and archive programming in a multi-year agreement, believed to be a three-year deal.

UFC Fight Nights will be shown live on Eleven Sports, whilst the broadcaster will have the option to make some events available in partnership with other broadcast platforms, meaning UFC events could be shown on BT Sport and Sky Sports in the future.

Fight Nights that are shown live on Eleven Sports will also be available on demand in full after the event.

UFC, the world’s leading MMA organisation, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and has grown to be a premium global sports brand, with over 284 million fans globally.

As well as holding successful events all over the world, 2018 brought two sell out shows to the UK, firstly at the O2 Arena in London, and secondly in Liverpool, which saw number two welterweight contender and hometown hero Darren Till defeat Stephen Thompson.

Eleven’s new deal with UFC also comes in the wake of Irish fighter Conor McGregor signing a new six-fight deal with the UFC.

The partnership with Eleven Sports provides UFC with a new broadcast home in the UK, with Eleven promising that the sport “will receive centre stage treatment and provide the passionate and dedicated fans incredible access to all the action from around the world”.

Commenting on its new deal with UFC, Danny Menken, Group Managing Director of Eleven Sports, said:

“UFC has become a massive brand which has built a hugely dedicated and engaged following over 25 years, making it a perfect fit for our fan centric strategy.

“We are a big supporter of combat sports across our global markets and the fresh and innovative approach that we have taken with our properties has been very successful. We are looking forward to creating the same added value for the legions of MMA fans in the UK and Ireland.”

Eleven Sports, a global online sports broadcasting platform founded by Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani, has risen to prominence this year.

UFC is the latest major sports rights acquired by Eleven Sports, following the addition of top flight football leagues – La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), Eredivisie (Netherlands), Chinese Super League (from 2019) and Allsvenskan (Sweden) – all exclusively live on Eleven Sports for the next three seasons.

BT Sport had been home of mixed martial arts’ premiere promotion since the channel’s launch in 2013, and will continue to show UFC events for the remainder of 2018, but in a sign of the shifting industry the rights have now gone to an online-only subscription platform. 

David Shaw, UFC Senior Vice President, International and Content, added:

“We have worked very successfully with ELEVEN SPORTS in Belgium and Luxembourg and we are looking forward to extending our partnership here in the UK and Ireland.

“The UK and Ireland are amongst UFC’s strongest markets globally and with ELEVEN SPORTS making a significant impact here, it made perfect sense to partner with them to showcase our thrilling product to our loyal and passionate fans.”

All the action will be distributed on Eleven’s online streaming platform via elevensports.uk, and iOS and Android mobile and tablet apps.Fans can also watch on traditional TV screens by casting on Google Chromecast.

An Eleven Sports monthly pass is available for £5.99, whilst an annual pass can be secured for £59.99.

Eleven says it is continuing discussions with all major broadcast platforms, third party streaming services and smart TV manufacturers to offer the widest possible access to its two online sports channels.

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