BT Loses TV Rights To Broadcast Ultimate Fighting

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BT is known to have dropped the rights to broadcast NBA basketball and UFC ultimate fighting walking away from a bidding competition.

“We won’t bid any more than the rights are worth to us,” a spokesperson for the telecoms giant advised the BBC.

The move comes weeks later BT dropped the rights to Italian Serie A soccer.

The firm spends approximately #1bn annually on sports rights, for example Premier League and Champions League soccer, a sum which many investors have criticised.

BT’s sports stations will continue to reveal NBA Basketball until the ending of October and UFC until 3 December.

The reduction signifies BT’s game stations will reveal fewer popular sport, however the firm’s spokesperson said it had been focusing on gaining more subscribers for its offering as well as “investing in more broadcast innovations.”

They said the firm had “long-term deals in place for our core content” including “great football, rugby and boxing next season”.

Marc Allera, mind of BT Consumer, advised the Financial Times which the plan for BT Sport – which started five years back – had proceeded from its initial “emotionally driven start-up mentality.It’s like a big football club in the transfer window. If a striker is worth £50m I won’t pay £70m for him. At the wrong price, everything is expendable,” he said.

Shareholders have been agitated for a time roughly the price and direction of BT Sport, something which in part contributed to the death of chief executive Gavin Patterson previous month.

Mr Patterson headed BT for five decades and under his direction the firm established itself as a significant sport broadcaster, with the rights to display a significant amount of Premier League games.

But the firm was criticised for spending cash in this manner, rather than on improving both the width and rate of its broadband policy.

Last month, Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, said BT’s “expensive move into football rights was a mistake”, since it had failed to result in a rise in new subscribers for the firm’s TV offering.

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