Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel’s Main Event channel will become the exclusive home of all pay-per-view (PPV) UFC events from 2024 as it fights to retain its status as one of the country’s main sports broadcasters.
Under the multi-year agreement, fans looking to purchase a UFC PPV event from the mixed martial arts promotion’s own Fight Pass streaming platform will be redirected to Foxtel and the Main Event offering via its Kayo Sports OTT service for exclusive access.
UFC Fight Pass will continue to be available in the country showing archived bouts, highlights, and breaking UFC news worldwide.
The promotion's global broadcast rights are sold by international sports marketing agency IMG, which is owned by UFC’s parent company Endeavor.
UFC president Dana White said: “Foxtel and Kayo Sports are the best sports broadcasters in the country, and they have backed UFC in Australia since the beginning. Together, we will continue to grow UFC in Australia, and they will be the destination for the biggest fights we put on year-round.”
Since its launch in 2008, Main Event has become the premier Australian PPV platform, broadcasting the UFC’s biggest global bouts and playing a central role in promoting new fighting talent.
UFC claims to have 4.3 million fans in Australia and New Zealand.
Patrick Delaney, Foxtel Group’s chief executive, said: “For 15 years we have been bringing the biggest UFC fights to Australian audiences and this new agreement will extend and elevate that partnership on the cusp of a golden era for the sport.
“UFC boasts the youngest fan base of any professional sport in the country and it’s exciting to continue our partnership with a brand that has such enormous growth potential – both at home and abroad. It’s the perfect match for our more than 3 million sports subscribers streaming on Kayo Sports and Foxtel.”
The new deal comes as Australia prepares to host more UFC events after staging UFC 284 in Perth, Western Australia, in February. Sydney is due to host UFC 293 in September and two more events over the next four years as part of a deal struck with the New South Wales government in May.
In total, 16 live UFC events have been held in Australia since 2010, and going forward, the country will host at least one PPV and Fight Night card annually.
ESPN, the Disney-owned sports broadcaster, holds exclusive rights in Australia and New Zealand to 30 UFC Fight Night events per year, as well as the 12 to 13 annual preliminary events held before the promotion’s PPV events as part of a deal running from 2019 to 2023.
Foxtel previously held non-exclusive rights to preliminary events in 2017 and 2018.
Earlier this month, Foxtel announced it had renewed its carriage agreement with ESPN, continuing its access to UFC events, basketball‘s NBA, baseball’s MLB, and US college sports.
Along with its carriage deal with ESPN, Foxtel also holds rights in Australia’s major domestic leagues – the Australian Football League, the National Rugby League, and Cricket Australia matches.
However, it is facing heavy competition from several Australian broadcasters, which also have extensive sports rights in the country.
Commercial broadcaster Nine Network recently renewed its partnership with Rugby Australia, giving it exclusive rights to all major local and international competitions including Super Rugby, Super W, and The Rugby Championship, as well as the 2025 British and Irish Lions Series.
In May, the broadcaster retained exclusive domestic rights to show all European soccer’s UEFA club competitions for the 2024-27 cycle. It also secured rights for all summer and winter Olympic Games until 2032 under a multi-million-dollar deal with the International Olympic Committee in February.
Nine Network also holds rights to all tennis grand slam tournaments – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open – which it airs across its linear channel and Stan.
Fellow commercial broadcaster Network Ten, owned by ViacomCBS, has rights to domestic soccer’s top-tier men’s A-League and women’s W-League in a five-year deal running from the 2021-22 to 2025-26 seasons. It also landed rights to national team competitions overseen by the Asian Football Confederation running through 2024.
Telecoms firm Optus, meanwhile, holds the rights for European soccer’s UEFA national team matches in a deal running through the 2024-26 cycle struck last year, as well as rights to the UEFA 2024 European Championships, the English men’s Premier League, and women’s Super League, the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Women’s FA Cup final, the Japanese J.League, and the Copa America.