Toronto, ON — The UFC has a new broadcast deal in Canada, with Rogers SportsNet taking over from TSN starting January 2024.
Along with that, the promotion is hosting UFC 297 in Toronto, stacked with Canadian fighters, many of whom were on hand at the event’s kick-off press conference at SportsNet Studios on Tuesday.
Also on hand was UFC Senior VP of International and Content, David Shaw, who told media outlets including Cageside Press that when it comes to Canadian fans, “they gravitate to Canadian stars that have histories in their communities, and have a commitment to the sport in those provinces.”
And that’s where the promotion sees SportsNet as able to help — telling the stories of those athletes. “For us, what SportsNet can bring is a renewed cycle of growth for our brand and for our athletes. And that’s what we’re thrilled about today.”
The question for Canadian fans since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has been “when?” As in, “when will the UFC return to Canada?” That happened this past June with UFC 289 in Vancouver. The January date in Toronto will be the promotion’s second since COVID waned, but historically speaking, Canada was getting three events a year. Per Shaw, that’s the goal — and maybe even one more.
“We’re committed to coming back to Canada two, three, four events,” he stated. “We’re not sure how many we can hold next year, our schedule is still in the works. What I can tell you is, Canada ranks third in terms of total number of events by country. U.S. first, Brazil second, and Canada third.”
David Shaw pointed out that UFC 297 in Toronto will be the promotion’s thirty-third trip to Canada overall. “Our commitment to Canada is steadfast and we will not be wavering at all.”
Watch the full UFC 297 press conference with David Shaw and some of the Canadian stars on the card above.