Abu Dhabi Media launches UFC Arabia to exploit exclusive rights

Abu Dhabi Media will exploit its exclusive Ultimate Fighting Championship media rights via a new OTT platform dedicated specifically to broadcasting fights across 21 territories in the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The platform, titled ‘UFC Arabia’, is the first OTT platform for streaming UFC fights in the region with Arabic-language capabilities. Subscribers will be able to track real-time updates of all UFC events and live-stream fights in Arabic and English.

The platform will be available in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

UFC senior vice-president David Shaw said that UFC Arabia would contain “hundreds of hours of shoulder programming” as well as live fights. The archive content will also be available in Arabic and English.

Streaming will be available on personal computers, mobile phones and tablets.

The platform will require subscribers to pay in US dollars across 19 of the 21 territories. The United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be the only two exceptions where payment will be due in local currency.

UFC Arabia will cost $4.99 (€4.44) monthly or $49.99 annually in most territories. For the UAE and KSA, it will cost AED/SAR 18.99 (€4.61/$5.71) monthly or AED/SAR 189.99 annually.

Abu Dhabi Media signed a “multi-year” deal for the exclusive rights to broadcast UFC fights across Mena in April.

Since signing the deal, fights have been shown on the broadcaster’s Abu Dhabi Sports 4 channel. The July 20 UFC Fight Night event will be simulcast on ADS4 and UFC Arabia, with all subsequent events broadcast solely on the OTT platform.

UFC had previously signed a deal with Dubai-based pay-television broadcaster OSN. That deal was scheduled to run from 2017 until 2021, but was cancelled after OSN closed five of its six own-brand sports channels.

OSN has since closed its sixth and final sports channel, citing piracy in the region as the key factor in its decision.

ADM previously held the rights between 2014 and 2016.