The UFC is coming to “The Worldwide Leader.”
On Tuesday, the UFC and ESPN made a joint announcement that they have reached a deal on “an immersive, multi-year media rights agreement” for exclusive live UFC content on the media giant’s new streaming service, ESPN+, which includes 15 full 12-bout cards beginning in January 2019.
Details of the agreement weren’t released, though Sports Business Daily reports it’s for five years and $150 million annually.
“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,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “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.”
The deal accomplishes one goal for the UFC – the digital side of its product – which is still looking to sell a broadcast package that would include roughly two dozen events. A previous report indicated that FOX Sports and NBC Sports are both in contention.
The current TV rights deal with FOX, which began in 2011, ends this year.
ESPN+ launched last month at a price of $4.99 per month. In addition to the 15 live events, being dubbed “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Nights,” the UFC’s deal with ESPN also includes:
- Exclusive, all new-seasons of “Dana White’s Contender Series” beginning in June 2019
- Exclusive pre- and post-event shows for all 15 live events
- Access to UFC’s full archive of programming, much like UFC Fight Pass
- A new original, all-access series produced by the UFC
- Additional UFC-branded content, including “UFC Countdown” shows, press conferences, weigh-ins, and pre-and post-shows
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.