By Gifford Lee
Australian pubs can now reap more crowd-pulling Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) content than ever before after Foxtel announced an exclusive broadcast deal last night.
Foxtel, and its platform partner Fox Sports Venues (FSV), will now be the only destination on Australian television for live and premium UFC content including the debut season of this country’s own version of the reality series The Ultimate Fighter.
The two-year, multi-channel agreement involves Fox Sports, Fuel TV, FX and Main Event and will allow Australian venues to access more UFC content than ever before.
In Sydney to announce the new broadcast agreement last night, UFC President Dana White said: “Australia is pound-for-pound the No.1 UFC market for its size, and we are going to give them more content than ever before.” [continues below]
Fox Sports Australia Chief Executive, Patrick Delany, said: “The UFC is no longer a niche sport and we see it as a major player in the future of sports entertainment in Australia. Its growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. In the US, the popularity rivals the ‘big four’ of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB and the new partnership with Foxtel will see the UFC explode here in Australia.”
Aspects of the deal include Fox Sports broadcasting “at least six live events per year” and Fuel TV becoming “the hub” for UFC content. The action sports channel will deliver live fights as well as live pre and post-fight content and premium UFC programs.
“Fuel TV has aired UFC programming for several years, but this new multi-channel arrangement promises fans they won’t miss a single event. From live fights to the unscripted drama of The Ultimate Fighter series, there is now a home for it all,” said Delany.
The FX channel will host Australia’s very own production of the reality series The Ultimate Fighter. The show, dubbed ‘The Smashes’ in a play on Australia’s great cricket rivalry with England, will see local up-and-coming fighters take on their British counterparts in a bid to snare a contract to fight professionally. It will debut on FX on Wednesday, 19th September at 7.30pm (AEST).
Fox Sports, Fuel TV and the FX channel are included in the ‘FSV Sport and Entertainment’ package. Main Event will continue to offer premium UFC content on a pay-per-view basis.