UFC has inked a multi-year rights and distribution deal with Disney’s new direct-to-consumer and international unit to deliver exclusive live content on ESPN+ as well as some fare via other ESPN platforms in both English and Spanish.
The deal, set to take effect in January 2019, includes 15 live UFC events to be streamed exclusively on ESPN+, the recently launched OTT service that sells for $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year.
Each event will be branded “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” and deliver a full card of 12 UFC bouts, they said. ESPN+ subs are also in line to get exclusives on all new-seasons of Dana White’s Contender Series” beginning in June 2019, and have access to original series produced by IMG Original Content, and an exclusive on pre- and post-event shows for all UFC on ESPN+ Fight Nights.
The deal also paves the way for ESPN+ subs will also be able to buy and watch UFC Fight Pass (UFC’s direct-to-consumer streaming service) and UFC PPV events for a separate cost.
Tied in, ESPN will also offer an exclusive, 30-minute special on ESPN’s linear networks previewing upcoming bouts and breaking down match ups leading up to each UFC PPV event, and “hundreds” of UFC library programming on linear networks and re-airs of current UFC PPV events.
“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,” Kevin Mayer, chairman, direct to consumer and international, The Walt Disney Company, 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,” added Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN president and co-chairman, Disney Media Networks. 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.”
“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, UFC’s president, said. “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.”