The UFC announced today that their London card will air on Channel 5 in the UK and Ireland. The live broadcast of the UFC FIGHT NIGHT LONDON: GUSTAFSSON vs. MANUWA main card on 8th March will begin at 9 p.m. and will be followed by highlights of the rest of the card until 11 p.m.
This marks the first time that the UFC has been broadcasted live to a terrestrial audience in the UK and Ireland. Garry Cook, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of UFC EMEA, said: “This gives the entire British public the opportunity to watch UFC programming live on free to air TV and we are very excited to be working with Channel 5 to provide this experience.”
Alan’s Angle: Great news for MMA fans as Channel 5 is free to watch and as a result this is great news for the UFC as more people will be able to watch thus meaning the opportunity to grow in this regions. But this announcement has me puzzled: will all the EMEA Fight Nights be broadcast like this on Channel 5? And, I can’t help but think that this is a harsh move on BT Sports.
The BT Sports move was originally a “breakthrough moment” for the UFC. They finally had a place to call home in the UK that would help push the brand and help it grow. Now, less than a year into that deal, the UFC have found another place, a weekend home as you will, that will help them grow…
I was under the impression that BT Sports would be broadcasting the EMEA events, I presume they still are, so this must mean they will take a massive hit on people not subscribing to them for these events.
On the other hand this could work in BT Sports favor, people who don’t normally watch the UFC turn on to watch it on Channel 5 and get a nice sample of these EMEA events and wonder where they can view it on a regular basis, as how this happened to many of us in the beginning of our love for the UFC/MMA. This results in a boosted interest in getting BT Sports which increases viewership to all the UFC events, a win-win for the UFC and BT Sports.
Two-sides to the coin on this one and I am sure people from the UFC and BT Sports discussed this move very thoroughly. Something I hope to find more about out very soon.