The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Thursday announced its first ever free-to-air broadcast agreement in Ireland.
Following UFC Fight Night 41 in Berlin last month, Garry Cook, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of UFC Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said that they were close to a deal to put UFC Dublin on television on July 19 in Ireland. On Thursday, the deal became reality.
UFC Fight Night Dublin: McGregor vs. Brandao will be broadcast on channel 3e in Ireland. 3e, part of the TV3 network, will broadcast the main card on a live basis from 8 p.m. local time, together with features and enhanced editorial across the TV3 Group in the lead-up to the event.
This is the first time a UFC event will be broadcast to a terrestrial audience in Ireland.
TV3 reaches approximately 3.5 million individuals each month, equivalent to 85.1% of the available viewing population, according to a UFC statement. It is the largest commercial TV channel in Ireland, and has a bigger market share for adults than BBC1, UTV, Channel 4 or Sky 1 combined.
“The popularity of the UFC in Ireland continues to grow at an enormous rate,” said Cook in announcing the deal. “With a number of talented Irish fighters on the card and the record-breaking sellout audience at the O2 arena, it was only right that we also offered access to this incredible event to audiences in Ireland via a free to air TV agreement. We are incredibly excited to make this announcement and we are confident that this is only the beginning of things to come for our sport in Ireland.”
Although further details of the television rights agreement were not released on Thursday, Cook in May said that the deal to air Irishman Conor McGregor’s homecoming bout on free TV in Ireland would likely be a one-off deal, which could then spur talks for future events.