After contributing to a thread on the awesome Powerhouse MMA Facebook page, it seems like there are some people confused about the UFC deal with BT Sports so I’m gonna clear some stuff up here.
I’ve been through the wars with getting Setanta to watch UFC and having it blow up in my face when they went tits up. I’ve had to endure ESPN’s shoddy coverage and missing out on all sorts of new content that US audiences have.
So here we go.
In Ireland, BT Sports will be just another channel available on Sky or UPC. In the same vein as ESPN and Setanta before it, it will be a subscription style channel. What the bigwigs are working on is what the price point will be and what deals there will be.
ESPN is currently free on Sky for anyone who has purchases the Sky Sports package. That’s the kind of deal they are looking to work on. Most likely, BT Sports will be discounted with the sports package as opposed to for free. ESPN UK has been a money loser for a good while now and have been happy to be discounted and made free with Sky Sports.
For Irish fans, at worst we will have the same UFC coverage as before. It looks more likely that we will have new content that we did not have on ESPN or any other provider before. BT Sports are claiming to be producing a UK and Ireland based magazine show ala UFC Tonight or Gazetta Football Italia (best show ever. Anyone else remember how boss Jon Richardson used to look reading the Gazette de la Sport , drinking a latte and shit?). Hopefully we get the other shows too. Best of Pride, the UFC on Fuel wrap up shows etc. There is also a huge chance that we will be getting the prelims that are always televised in the States, either live or the next day as part of a primetime Sunday night of UFC.
In short, don’t panic. If you have UPC or Sky, you can afford this. It will be worth your while to afford it too.