Tuesday, 23 June 2009

UFC lose UK Broadcaster, Setanta, Thanks to Recession

From MMAjunkie.com: After weeks of rumors of its potential collapse and questions about the station's ability to air UFC 99 earlier this month, the Ultimate Fighting Championship today officially announced it has terminated its agreement with Setanta Sports. The UFC today released a press release in which UFC UK Division President Marshall Zelaznik stated that the decision was made to assure U.K. fans won't miss any future UFC events, including next month's historic UFC 100 card. Zelaznik stated the UFC will announce a new broadcast partner "shortly." The UFC and Setanta first joined forces in January 2008. The partnership fueled the UFC's move overseas and into a variety of U.K. and other European markets. "They were the right partner for us at the right time as we continued to build the sport of mixed martial arts and our brand," Zelaznik stated. "Throughout the last few weeks, we have been kept informed of the situation at Setanta, and therefore, we are in a position to ensure our U.K. and Eire fans will not miss any of this summer's huge UFC events, commencing with UFC 100 in July." Setana reportedly lost millions of dollars while denouncing rumors of a potential demise. However, BBC News today reported that the company has entered into administration, ceased its U.K. operations and will lay off 200 employees following sagging subscription numbers and missed payments to partners such as the English Premier League; The rights have since been purchased by ESPN. (O'DEA NOTE: Read that full article here.) Zelaznik wished Setanta well. "On behalf of the UFC I want to wish the team at Setanta all the strength to get through what must be very difficult times," he stated. "We have worked very closely with the entire Setanta team over the past years and wish them the best of luck in the future." Prior to the June 13 UFC 99 event in Cologne, Germany, UFC President Dana White posted multiple Twitter updates to reassure fans that the event would be available on Setanta despite the station's problems. The event did air without incident, though no assurances could be made for future events.

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