UFC, TSN and RDS on Tuesday confirmed details of what had been talked about over the weekend on TSN in its coverage of UFC 231, that TSN would become the exclusive English language television home for the company in Canada.
TSN is Canada’s equivalent to ESPN, and has been the home of UFC since 2015, after the UFC moved from the No. 2 sports network in Canada, Rogers Sportsnet. Rogers was the home of the company during its peak of Canadian popularity, where per capita pay-per-view and television viewership was far ahead of the U.S. during the Georges St-Pierre era.
As part of the multi-year deal, RDS, a French language sports station in Quebec, will continue to carry the French language events with exclusivity. No terms were announced for the new contracts, but traditionally Canadian sports rights go for a small fraction of what U.S. sports rights go for.
The biggest change in 2019 will be that events will no longer air on The Fight Network, which is a blow to that network since th eUFC has been its flagship programming for more than a decade.
TSN and RDS will air the prelims before every pay-per-view show as well as the prelims and main cards of 22 Fight Night Events.
As part of the deal, TSN and RDS will also air Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series.
All UFC fights that aren’t on TSN, which would include early prelims on most shows and some other Fight Night events will air on Fight Pass.
TSN and RDS will also broadcast UFC content through social channels as well as other Bell Media platforms, including SnackableTV and Crave, for content streaming on demand.
TSN will also air any exclusive non-fight UFC programming that airs on ESPN in the U.S.
”We are incredibly excited to build on our strong relationship with UFC to extend our agreement as their Canadian home,” said Shawn Redmond, Vice President of TSN and Discovery Networks in Canada. “This expanded partnership allows us to deliver even more UFC content across not only TSN and RDS, but also Bell Media platforms, providing additional choice and coverage to our viewers.”
”We are thrilled to continue our partnership with TSN and RDS, as they have been a key component of UFC’s growth in Canada,” said David Shaw, UFC Senior Vice President of International and Content. “Canada is one of UFC’s most important markets, supported by a strong and loyal fan base. With this continued relationship, TSN and RDS will help us reach more UFC fans in Canada than ever before.”
The UFC showed strength in the Canadian market over the weekend drawing a sellout of 19,039 fans on Saturday night in Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.