BT backs out of UFC and NBA bid: 'at the wrong price, everything is expendable'

BT blow as ‘expendable’ NBA basketball & UFC ultimate fighting rights lost

BT has suffered a double blow after simultaneously losing the rights to both NBA basketball and UFC ultimate fighting after being knocked out of a bidding battle for the sports.

Reports has suggested that BT walked away from the contest rather than overpay for the rights, despite losing the right to air Italian Serie A football mere weeks ago.

However, it will continue to air both until its existing contract comes to an end on 3 December.

Explaining the decision to Marc Allera, head of BT Consumer, said: “It's like a big football club in the transfer window. If a striker is worth £50m I won't pay £70m for him. At the wrong price, everything is expendable.”

BT Sport has pledged to reinvest its savings in unspecified ‘broadcast innovations’ in order to attract more subscribers as it moves on from its launch five years ago.

The telecoms giant has muscled its way into sports broadcasting with a £1bn per year rights budget which it has used to snap up the Premier League rights alongside Sky.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.