The UFC have today announced a new five-year media-rights deal with ESPN worth $150 million a year, starting from January, 2019.
The deal will see 15 live UFC events airing exclusively on the new ESPN+ subscription streaming platform, branded as ‘UFC On ESPN+ Fight Night’ and with each featuring a full 12-fight card as well as pre and post-fight shows.
In addition, ESPN+ (available for $4.99 a month / $49.99 a year) will also be exclusively airing new seasons of ‘Dana White’s Tuesday Night’ Contenders’ series, beginning in June of next year, along with a new all-access series produced by IMG Original Content.
Furthermore, ESPN+ subscribers will have non-exclusive access to the UFC’s full archive of programming, including historic events, fights and original programming as well as other content like ‘Countdown’ specials, press conferences and weigh-ins coverage.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s liner and digital channels will also be airing UFC related content including an exclusive half-hour preview show for every pay-per-view event in addition to re-airs of recent PPV shows and hundreds of hours of other additional UFC library programming.
It should be stressed however that despite today’s announcement, the UFC are still continuing to shop around for a lucrative new broadcast deal to follow on when their current contract with FOX expires this year.
“I couldn’t be more excited to partner with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN on an agreement that will continue to grow our sport,” Dana White said in a statement announcing the media-rights deal. “UFC has always done deals with the right partners at the right time and this one is no exception. We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it. This deal is a home run for ESPN and UFC.”
“One of our goals for ESPN+ is to bring sports fans of all genres content they love and are passionate about, and this agreement with UFC is illustrative of exactly that,” Walt Disney’s Direct to Consumer and International Chairman Kevin Mayer said in a statement. “We look forward to providing UFC’s enthusiastic, growing fan base with a wide array of live events and building a lasting relationship with the industry leader in mixed martial arts.”
“UFC is a premier global sports property with legions of incredibly avid fans,” Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN’s President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks said. “We are excited to be able to bring their world-class events and content to ESPN+ and the ESPN networks. This agreement shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the very best across our entire platform.”