BT Sport is all in on MMA. Following a new deal announced last week, which will see the broadcaster have exclusive rights to showcase all UFC events until the end of 2018, Cage Warriors today announced a continuation of their own deal with BT Sport which will also see all events televised moving forward.
The partnership kicked off on July 8th with Cage Warriors 77 and although the specific length of the deal wasn’t included in the release, the next event by the promotion – CWFC 78 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on September 10th – will be televised live on BT Sport.
This deal further solidifies BT Sport’s commitment to MMA in the UK and should help cultivate and grow their audience with events airing during primetime hours. Theoretically this could also prove to be a good lead in for UFC programming if Cage Warriors events are held on the same night as UFC events stateside. With the time difference you could have a CW event in the UK followed by a UFC event from overseas for example.
Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan told FO: “To have a broadcaster like BT Sport on board with Cage Warriors is everything this sport needs. I’m really happy for the athletes to have this platform available to them its what they deserve. The athletes and the fans now have a real home for MMA in BT Sports.”
CWFC CEO Casimir Knight also believes the deal will benefit fighters, fans as well as the long term goals of the promotion and the growth of the sport in the UK. “We’re committed to creating the best possible platform for fighters and fight fans – and this long-term partnership with BT Sport achieves that,” says Knight.
“We will give Europe’s rising MMA stars regular fights on the broadcast home of MMA. This is also a significant step for the CWFC brand, as it will increase our exposure to a mainstream sporting audience as we sit shoulder to shoulder with other leading rights holders. By working with respected broadcast partners like BT Sport, together we can do our bit to grow the sport of MMA.”
Meanwhile, Simon Green, who is the head of BT Sport, believes the fans are the big winners here with more MMA coming to their TV screens. “I’m sure fight fans will be thrilled with more primetime MMA action on BT Sport so soon after the news that we will continue to be the home of the UFC,” said Green. “I’m happy to welcome the CWFC to BT Sport.”
This deal could see up and coming prospects like Paddy Pimblett, who is one half of the CWFC 78 main event, get a major platform to not only showcase his skills in the cage and his personality on the mic to a wider audience, but also be able to grow and cultivate a fan base before moving on up the ladder onto the UFC.