The UFC and Disney's new Direct-To-Consumer & International segment along with ESPN, have reached a 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.
"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, " said Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct to Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company. "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."
While no deal with FOX has been announced, Variety reported in April that ESPN and FOX Sports were teaming up to bid for the UFC television package that would bring as many as 15+ fights to ESPN+. UFC's current deal with FOX Sports expires in December. This deal provides for 15 live UFC events to stream exclusively on ESPN+ with a full card with 12 fights. The events will be branded "UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night" and will deliver a full card of 12 UFC bouts.
"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," said UFC President Dana White. "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."
Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) by downloading the ESPN App at ESPNPlus.com. In addition to the live UFC cards, other 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 and UFC PPV events via ESPN+, for a separate cost. ESPN will also bring fans a variety of UFC content across ESPN's linear and digital platforms, including an exclusive, 30-minute special on ESPN's linear networks previewing upcoming bouts and breaking down match ups leading up to each UFC PPV; hundreds of hours of UFC library programming on linear networks; and re-airs of current UFC PPV events.