Earlier this month, the UFC reached an agreement with ESPN+ to begin streaming live cards and other programming beginning this January.
That, though, was just the first part to an expanded deal confirmed by ESPN on Wednesday.
Starting in 2019, the sports media giant will be the new home for all things UFC, including 30 exclusive fight night cards a year and 42 nights of live event coverage.
ESPN linear networks will broadcast 10 exclusive events, as well as all UFC pay-per-view prelim fights. ESPN+, meanwhile, receives 20 exclusive events and all prelims for “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” events. Also, there will be special “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” cards that only are on the all-digital network.
“Every year for the last 18 years, we have taken this sport and brand to another level. We find innovative ways to promote our athletes and build stars. Today is another monumental day for UFC, our athletes, and our fans. We are now part of the ESPN family, recognized around the world as the pinnacle in sports broadcasting,” UFC president Dana White said in a press release. “I am very excited for this next chapter for UFC.” 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-percent millennials.”
UFC on ESPN
Fight Nights Platform # of Events
UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night ESPN+ 20
UFC on ESPN Fight Night * ESPN networks 10
UFC PPV Preliminary Fights ESPN networks 12
* Prelims for UFC on ESPN Fight Night will be streamed live on ESPN+
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 30 “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” programs on ESPN and ESPN+
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
Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks said, “ESPN’s unparalleled multimedia platform is the perfect home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties. UFC fans are passionate and loyal and we plan to bring the full power of ESPN’s live coverage, powerful storytelling and unmatched distribution to serve them in an unprecedented fashion. We can’t wait to get started.”