With the contractual sands of the hourglass running out on their FOX deal, the UFC has been shopping around their broadcast rights, and it looks like ESPN is buying in.
According to a UFC release, ESPN will be paying the UFC for 15 events, which will air on ESPN+ (which I gather is ESPN’s equivalent to Fight Pass…?).
Some wiseass posted this comment to Twitter in regards to the new broadcasting avenue:
Stoked to be watching UFC events on TV, Fight Pass, some ESPN digital stream, a Nickelodeon app, in a small box in the corner of the screen on the Home Shopping Network, on a FOX News ticker, and probably a Facebook download that sells all my personal info.
— jim genia (@jim_genia) May 8, 2018
Anyway, here’s the official release. Somehow Disney is tied into this thing, but I doubt that will result in any Octagon roller coasters at Walt Disney World.
UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and The Walt Disney Company’s new Direct-To-Consumer & International segment along with ESPN, have reached an immersive, multi-year media rights agreement for exclusive live UFC content on ESPN+, as well as across a variety of ESPN’s television, social and digital platforms, in English and Spanish, taking effect in January 2019.
This first-ever rights and distribution agreement between the two companies provides for 15 live UFC events to stream exclusively on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International group, in partnership with ESPN. Each event will be branded “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” and will deliver a full card of 12 UFC bouts.
With more than 280 million fans around the world, UFC boasts the youngest fan base among major professional sports organizations in the US with a median age of 40 and an audience comprising 40% millennials.
Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year). To subscribe, fans simply download or open the ESPN App (or visit ESPNPlus.com). In addition to live, exclusive events, the lineup of UFC content available to ESPN+ subscribers will include:
• Exclusive, all new-seasons of “Dana White’s Contender Series” beginning in June 2019
• A new original, all-access series produced by IMG Original Content
• Exclusive pre- and post-event shows for all 15 “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Nights”
• Non-exclusive access to UFC’s full archive of programming, including historic events, classic bouts, and original programming
• Additional UFC-branded content, including “UFC Countdown” shows, press conferences, weigh-ins, and pre-and post-shows
In addition to the live events and content included in the ESPN+ subscription, fight fans will be able to purchase and watch UFC FIGHT PASS® (UFC’s DTC streaming offering) and UFC PPV events via ESPN+, for a separate cost.