UFC Sets ESPN Debut For January 19, Releases First Quarter Schedule
UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, today announced the first dates, locations, and distribution plans for UFC events in the first quarter 2019. This new schedule marks the beginning of the historic multi-year agreement between UFC and The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-To-Consumer & International segment and ESPN that makes ESPN+ and ESPN the exclusive media homes of UFC in the United States.
The first three months of 2019 features action-packed UFC events across ESPN+, the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, and ESPN networks, every week for 11 consecutive weeks. ESPN+ will showcase more than 36 hours of exclusive UFC action and ESPN linear networks will add another 18 hours (with all 54 hours available in both English and Spanish).
On Saturday, Jan 19, UFC returns to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” card will represent UFC’s debut on ESPN-branded platforms, with main card bouts streamed live on ESPN+ in both English and Spanish and prelims broadcast nationally on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Also streamed live on ESPN+ will be the early prelims (prior to the ESPN television broadcast).
Following Brooklyn, UFC 233, the first Pay-Per-View of 2019, takes places at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, January 26. ESPN linear networks will televise the prelims, offering one of the most powerful promotional lead ins UFC has ever had for a Pay-Per-View.
The Octagon then travels internationally, with “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” in Brazil on Saturday, February 2 (location TBD) with ESPN+ exclusively streaming all bouts.
UFC returns to the U.S. for another historic first, “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” on Sunday, February 17, from Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. The prelims and main card will be televised live to a national audience exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, while the early prelims will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Other confirmed events in the first quarter include UFC 235, the promotion’s first event of the year in its home venue, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, on Saturday, March 2, and a return to London, England’s O2 Arena for “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” on Saturday, March 16. The second “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” will take place on March 30, with the early prelims streamed live on ESPN+ and the prelims and main card televised live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
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Fight cards and ticket on-sale information will be announced at a later date.
Starting January, ESPN+ and ESPN will 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.
Events streamed live on ESPN+ will carry the “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” moniker, while events broadcast on ESPN will be branded “UFC on ESPN Fight Night.” ESPN+ will offer 20 exclusive events and all preliminary fights for “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” programs, while ESPN linear networks will broadcast 10 exclusive events as well as all UFC Pay-Per-View preliminary fights.