For the second time in a few days, TSN and RDS have announced they have grappled away more long-time Sportsnet and TVA Sports sports rights. First, it was the UEFA Champions & Europa League, and now, Bell Media announced yesterday that they have signed a multi-year deal that brings all UFC programming to TSN and RDS. In what one could say is the start of a possible partnership trend, certain UFC programming will also screen on the little-known Fight Network. All the UFC action including major live events, PPV prelim fights, Fight Night and the Ultimate Fighter series will be shown across the country, giving Canadians more programming than ever before!!!
TSN will begin its UFC coverage on January 3 with Countdown to UFC 182 at 7pm ET on TSN4 and TSN5, followed by the UFC 182 prelim fights from 8pm ET. Additional UFC shows such as UFC Now, UFC Unleashed, UFC Ulimate Insider, and Road to the Octagon will begin screening in early 2015.
The Fight Network, which appears to be available on nearly every cable and satellite provider in Canada, will broadcast Fight Night events from around the world and all prelim fights from pay-per-views held out North America. Fight Network will also show all weigh-ins, press conferences and post-fight coverage. They will also partner with TSN and RDS to produce pre-fight programming before PPV events.
Like the Champions League, it is entirely possible Sportsnet and TVA Sports couldn’t afford to spend the money to renew the UFC rights due to the gazillion-dollar NHL deal. One thing that hamstrung them though was that UFC screens a majority of its live events on a Saturday night, a night in which Sportsnet aims to show as many hockey games as possible and TVA Sports shows one game on each of its channels. SN360 will now be free to show NHL every Saturday night and possibly games on Wednesdays which was another UFC-heavy night.