Back around UFC 97 we mentioned that British sports network Setanta was short on their English Premier League fees to the tune of a few million bucks. What’s happened since then? Well, Setanta will try to raise over 100 million via it’s shareholders and is expected to ask the EPL to give them a break of some description. If the soccer league decides it’s not feeling very loyal, it could easily end up on another network, which would be pretty bad to say the least. A British sports network without a proper football deal isn’t much of a sports network at all, is it? MMA Payout lays out what it would mean for the UFC:
The fallout from this for the UFC may be the outright collapse of their TV partner in the UK or at the very least a possible reduction or deferment in the rights fee they receive from Setanta. While the UFC has turned the corner to profitability on their UK shows, it is a lean operation and a rights reduction fee could adversely impact the bottom line on these shows. The collapse and bankruptcy of Setanta could put the UFC back on the market, but at a time when rights fees will be down sharply.
This is where being a bullish business in a bear market kinda sucks … you might be doing well but a lot of the people you hitch your cart to are struggling with the world economy being in the toilet. If Setanta does go down (or worse, limps on with way less viewers and less money), it could set the UFC’s UK plans back by up to a few years.