In a major rights win for Discovery, all Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events will exclusively be broadcast by the company in the Netherlands and Spain. Live and on-demand content – including UFC programming such as UFC Countdown and UFC Connected – is being streamed on its D2C service discovery+ in the Netherlands, and broadcast on its linear TV channel Eurosport in Spain.
UFC content is also available on the Eurosport App for Spanish viewers. Additionally, in the Netherlands the linear channel Eurosport 1 will broadcast a selection of live action events throughout the year. Programming appearing on the services will include expert insight and analysis by leading names in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world – including Jorge Lera and Gonzalo Rodriguez in Spain, and former MMA star Marloes Coenen in the Netherlands.
UFC is the world’s leading MMA organisation, with coverage of its events being broadcast to 900 million people in 170 countries and boasting a global fan base of 625 million people, according to the organization.
In June 2021, Discovery established a dedicated sports division – Discovery Sports –to support collaboration between its range of sports brands, including Eurosport, Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network, Gold Digest and GOLF TV. Most notably, the company won exclusive broadcast rights to the 2018-2024 Olympics across 50 European countries €1.3bn in 2014.
Excluding Italy, San Marino and Vatican City, the company also has global exclusive broadcast rights for Giro d’Italia (the prestigious Italian cycling grand tour) and last year signed a rights deal with the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) to carry its skiing world cup content (and other regional championships) exclusively, in over 40 markets. Coverage of all these sporting events is broadcast on its Eurosport channels and streamed on discovery+.
Gijs Poortman, Head of Discovery Sports Netherlands, said: “Our experience in building and rolling out one of the most rapidly expanding streaming products in discovery+ will provide a natural home for UFC, one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports globally. With the acquisition of the rights to broadcast UFC on discovery+, we are further expanding our already broad sports offering with the most premium fight sport.”
David Shaw, UFC Senior Vice President of Content and International, said: “The Discovery team came to us with a vision perfectly aligned with our growth aspirations in Europe. This multi-year, multi-territory agreement will give UFC and our athletes a platform like never before, providing our fans in the Netherlands and Spain with access to more localised content as well as all the big blockbuster events. We’re excited about taking UFC to the next level alongside Discovery.”