BBC Three becomes new UK home for UFC
James R | On 24, Feb 2016
Since BBC Three’s transformation into the UK’s first online TV channel, a lot of emphasis has been placed upon its original content and archive box sets, but sport will also be a key part of the channel’s mix, as the broadcaster signs a new deal to become a UK home for UFC.
The partnership will see BBC Three offer Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) coverage online through its range of content types and forms: while there will not be live footage of the fights streamed on the channel, there will be live commentary and post-fight video across The Daily Drop, BBC Three’s live page, and through BBC Three’s social media accounts.
The Daily Drop is a daily, Tumblr-like stream of news and sport content, which includes everything from news and links to third party blog posts to short films and animations. The live page, meanwhile, is the format that the BBC has developed for BBC Sport to provide football coverage, as well as BBC Music for Glastonbury.
The partnership begins immediately, as UFC fighters arrive in London this weekend for UFC Fight Night Silva vs. Bisping, which takes place at The O2 arena on Saturday 27th February. The event features nine British athletes, including the main event between Michael Bisping and Brazilian Anderson Silva, regarded as one of the best MMA athletes of all time.
MMA is one of the world’s fastest growing sports and BBC Three has long positioned itself as a place for coverage of emerging sports that appeal to young audiences. Last year, the channel made a documentary featuring MMA and offered live coverage of League of Legends from Wembley, with both “well received” by younger audiences.
Damian Kavanagh, Controller, BBC Three, says: “We already offer sport on The Daily Drop and it’s right we cover one of the fastest growing, and most talked-about sports in the world, which has millions of fans in the UK, all in a BBC Three way. The deal is mutually beneficial and demonstrates how BBC Three can experiment with new types of content, from new partners, in new ways.”
Alongside BBC Three’s live and social media coverage BBC Three will produce short films and content on mixed martial arts and UFC athletes, including Conor McGregor, Holy Holm, Ronda Rousey and Michael Bisping.
In addition to the London event, on an ongoing basis, BBC Three will offer editorial coverage of UFC events within EMEA, with a possibility to cover international events.
“We are thrilled to be recognised as a valuable asset for BBC Three,” comments James Elliott, UFC EMEA General Manager and Vice President. “Audiences across the UK & Ireland are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the skill, athleticism and ethics of MMA fighters and the great events and content produced by the UFC, which is driving fans to seek content from media outlets.”
“BBC Three is a perfect fit,” he adds.
For more on what’s coming soon to BBC Three, click here.