ESPN Inks Deal with UFC for Entire Television Package Worth $1.5 Billion

UFC Fight Night 129

UFC, the world's premier mixed martial arts organization, and The Walt Disney Company's new Direct-To-Consumer and global segment along with ESPN, today announced the full scope of the historic multi-year agreement that makes ESPN-branded media platforms the exclusive digital and television home of the UFC in the United States, further expanding streaming rights to UFC on ESPN+ and building upon the agreement revealed earlier this month. That includes 10 main cards on ESPN's television networks as well as 20 on ESPN+, which is five more than originally expected.

ESPN is going all in on the UFC.

"UFC is a premier global sports property with legions of incredibly avid fans", Pitaro said in announcing the ESPN+ deal earlier this month. UFC President Dana White told MMAJunkie previous year that the show, "can go on forever" and "is always going to be relevant".

Events broadcast on ESPN will be labeled "UFC on ESPN Fight Night".

The UFC is leaving Fox Sports and heading to ESPN as part of a five-year deal worth $1.5 billion that could potentially bring more eyes into mixed martial arts than ever before.

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The UFC's deal with Fox Sports ends in December. Today is another monumental day for UFC, our athletes, and our fans.

"ESPN's unparalleled multimedia platform is the flawless home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties", ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said. With name-brand stars such as Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor and Brock Lesnar stepping away from the octagon, ratings for UFC events on the main Fox network dropped almost 22 percent in 2017 to a bit more than 2 million viewers on average, while cards on the Fox Sports 1 cable network drew an average of almost 800,000 viewers, down 18 percent.

Both UFC and WWE have something that's increasingly rare to offer these days: Live programming. UFC will still have pay-per-view and its Fight Pass streaming service.

"Fox Sports has enjoyed an incredible partnership with the UFC over the last seven years", a statement from the network read. It also will be available to purchase through ESPN Plus, where consumers can purchase and view UFC pay-per-view events.

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