UFC and ESPN announced this afternoon that ESPN + will become the exclusive destination and distributor of MMA's pay-per-view events. The seven-year agreement expands the partnership between UFC and ESPN's independent streaming service, which replaced Fox Sports as the home of UFC Fight Night earlier this year. ESPN + has already transmitted preliminary matches for UFC pay per view under that agreement, but now it is becoming the central point for everything. UFC handles all the production of its own events, but Disney hopes that being the place where consumers come to see it, it will be a big boost for their first direct consumer service.
New ESPN + subscribers can subscribe to one year of service, plus a UFC PPV for a combined price of $ 79.99. For existing ESPN + customers (the service has more than 2 million subscribers) the payment for UFC visits will cost $ 59.99 each. (ESPN + costs $ 4.99 per month.)
UFC says it will continue to distribute PPV fights at commercial locations, so you do not have to worry if ESPN ruins your watch parties at the local sports bar. But traditional cable and satellite providers are keeping this new agreement, which begins on April 13 with UFC 236. "The UFC digital brands – UFC.TV, UFC.com and UFC App – will continue to be a point of entry for the consumer of "PPV Events," the UFC said in its press release, the company's own UFC Fight Pass will continue to air preliminaries along with replays of old events.
But UFC boss Dana White says that ESPN + "will offer the best pay-per-view experience in history, with unparalleled access to live fights. Get replays, files, originals and much more. If you're a UFC fan, ESPN + is a must. " Disney certainly wants fight fans to come to the same conclusion. The service does not have SportsCenter or marquee shows that air on the ESPN network, instead of focusing on live and original games. ESPN + offers limited MLB and NHL games, but broadcasts a much larger number of live MLS events, Grand Slam, Top Rank boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, cricket and more. It is also the only place to find the entire catalog 30 by 30 .
Disney says that "you can explore other possible packages in the coming months" for ESPN + and UFC. Remember that Disney + will be shown to the company's investors next month before the consumer launch that is expected for this year. And Disney will have a majority stake in Hulu once the acquisition of the assets of 21st Century Fox is finally approved; That is expected to happen as early as tomorrow night. So you can imagine a combination of ESPN +, pay per view of UFC and even Hulu, all mixed in the future.