BT to lose UFC and NBA TV rights as Eleven Sports steps up

Broadcaster has also picked up 2018 US PGA Championship as well as Serie A and La Liga

UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor of Ireland celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez in 2016. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor of Ireland celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez in 2016. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

 

BT has lost the right to show the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and NBA Basketball, with global broadcaster Eleven Sports picking up the martial arts in its latest acquisition.

A person familiar with the situation said Eleven had won the rights to show UFC in Britain to add to its offering of Italian and Spanish top-flight soccer and the 2018 PGA Championship.

BT is also due to lose the rights to NBA Basketball, which it holds until the end of October, a second person familiar with the situation said.

BT, which will show UFC until the end of this year, said it would not comment on individual sports but said it would not bid any more than the rights were worth to them.

“BT Sport remains the home of UFC and NBA at this stage, and we have long-term deals in place for our core content,” it said.

“BT Sport customers will continue to receive great football, rugby and boxing next season among a wide range of sports - including every single match from rugby’s Heineken Champions Cup.”

BT’s shares were trading down 1.5 percent at 232 pence at 11.23 GMT.

Eleven, which broadcasts to more than 17 million paying customers in markets including the United States, Singapore, Myanmar, Italy, Poland and Portugal, is launching two channels in Britain in August.

Sky and BT had battled each other for years to the rights to show exclusive programming, but both have focused recently on having a select group of rights - such as the English Premier League or European Champions League - making it easier for others to enter the market for smaller sports.

The two broadcasters have struck a deal to share content on each other’s platforms, reducing the competition between them to splash out millions for exclusive rights.

Eleven is owned by Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani and run by Marc Watson, the former head of TV at BT.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.