UFC Officially Announces TV Deal With Disney & ESPN

UFC Officially Announces TV Deal With Disney & ESPN

We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it. Rumors of some sort of deal with ESPN had been swirling for months.

"One of our goals for ESPN Plus 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", Direct to Consumer and global chairman Kevin Mayer said. It's also worth noting that the UFC still needs to find a television broadcast partner, as its deal with Fox is nearing its conclusion.

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The ESPN deal marks the end of seven years on FOX and FOX Sports networks, which was signed back in 2011. The new deal has been rumored for some time and will expand UFC's reach to millions of mobile users. The recently announced segment is responsible for The Walt Disney Company's direct-to-consumer businesses globally, including the ESPN+ sports streaming service, programmed in partnership with ESPN; the upcoming Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service; and the Company's ownership stake in Hulu. "But seeing this product that they built is really what convinced us", he said.

Terms of the agreement were not released, but SportsBusiness Daily reported ESPN will pay $150 million a year for five years for the digital rights to UFC events.

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ESPN+ will also offer events streamed on UFC Fight Pass and UFC pay-per-view cards on the service for an additional cost. During negotiations with Fox over the last year, the UFC was seeking at least $300 million a year. The price point of $5 a month was an additional bit of incentive, he said. The deal also includes "a new original, all-access series produced by IMG Original Content" as well as pre- and post-fight event coverage, and multiple seasons of the Contender Series. The deal will also see Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, now airing on UFC Fight Pass, move under the ESPN umbrella, something first reported by MMA Today's Nolan King.

Regarding the deal, streaming 15 live events on ESPN+ isn't all-the company plans on putting that content on "a variety of ESPN's television, social and digital platforms" in English and Spanish, as well.

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