Press release from ESPN, May 23, 2018:
UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and The Walt Disney Company’s new Direct-To-Consumer and International 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.
Starting in January 2019, ESPN+ and ESPN become the exclusive digital and linear distributors in the United States for UFC, showcasing 42 live events, 30 of which will feature a full card of 12 UFC bouts. ESPN linear networks will broadcast 10 exclusive events as well as all UFC pay-per-view preliminary fights, while ESPN+, the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, will offer 20 exclusive events and all preliminary fights for “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” programs. Events broadcast on ESPN will be branded “UFC on ESPN Fight Night,” while events streamed live on ESPN+ will carry the “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” moniker. With this agreement, the only destination where fans can watch all UFC programming is the ESPN app, and in the future, the full breadth of content will be available on ESPN+.
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.”
Added Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-To-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company, “The expansion of our relationship with UFC is an exciting development for fight fans. Delivering 20 exclusive UFC fight nights per year and a host of original content to UFC’s young, passionate and tech-savvy fan base, makes ESPN+ the clear new digital home for UFC and further establishes our new service as the leading platform for direct-to-consumer sports streaming.”
Dana White, President, UFC said, “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. 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% 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
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(R) (UFC’s DTC streaming offering) and UFC PPV events via ESPN+ and within the ESPN app, for a separate cost.
ESPN will also bring fans a variety of UFC content across ESPN’s widely consumed 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.
The ESPN App and ESPN+ are available on mobile and TV-connected devices and on ESPN.com. The new ESPN App with ESPN+ are available on devices and platforms including Amazon (Fire TV, Fire Stick, Fire Smart TVs, Fire tablets), Android (Android phones, Android TV), Apple (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and supported in the Apple TV App), Chromecast and Roku.