ESPN+ Becomes Exclusive Provider of UFC PPVs
UFC and ESPN+, the direct-to-consumer sports video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN, today announced an agreement that will deliver value and simplicity to mixed martial arts fans, making ESPN+ the exclusive distributor of UFC Pay-Per-View events in the United States through 2025. The agreement will make ESPN+ the single point of purchase for consumers of the biggest UFC events throughout the year and the definitive destination for fans to get the most comprehensive coverage of UFC.
Starting with UFC 236: HOLLOWAY vs. POIRIER 2 on April 13, ESPN+ becomes the exclusive distributor in the United States of all UFC PPV events, showcasing 12 blockbuster live events per year from the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, for each of the next seven years. The agreement adds a new business model to ESPN+ and builds upon the historic multi-platform rights agreement announced in 2018, which is now extended through 2025.
UFC PPV events sold through ESPN+ will include all bouts on the Main Event fight cards and will be streamed in high definition in both English and Spanish. Preliminary bouts for all UFC PPV events will continue to air nationally on ESPN (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) under the agreement announced in 2018. Early preliminary bouts will be available to all ESPN+ subscribers, as well as on UFC FIGHT PASS® and to those who have purchased the PPV. UFC will continue to sell its PPV events to commercial establishments.
“With the addition of UFC PPV events, we are making ESPN+ an absolute must-have for any fan of the UFC and mixed martial arts,” said Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer & International, The Walt Disney Company. “In less than a year, ESPN+ has established itself as the leader in direct-to-consumer sports and this new programming agreement adds a significant business to our platform while reinforcing the value and strength of our product and our content lineup.”
“Today’s announcement further establishes the strength of the partnership between UFC and ESPN,” said UFC President Dana White. “Now our fans will be able to watch all UFC events exclusively on ESPN platforms, including ESPN+, which is an innovative way to deliver fights to our young fan base. I couldn’t be more excited to work with ESPN for the next seven years. Together we’re going to do amazing things to help grow this sport.”
Jimmy Pitaro, President, ESPN and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks added: “The extremely successful launch of the UFC on ESPN+ emphatically demonstrated the collective power and scale of ESPN and DTCI, and we couldn’t be more excited to continue to drive passionate fans to these new pay per view experiences.”
In addition to giving MMA fans a one-stop home for all UFC PPV events, ESPN+ pricing and packaging will deliver new value to fans as well:
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* New ESPN+ subscribers will get one-year of ESPN+ and a UFC PPV event for $79.99;
* Existing ESPN+ subscribers will be able to purchase UFC PPV events for $59.99 per event.
ESPN+ may explore other potential packaging in the months ahead.
UFC 236: HOLLOWAY vs. POIRIER 2 goes on sale via ESPN+ at espnplus.com/ppv on April 8. Fans must purchase the event on the web, and then can stream it via the web or on the ESPN App on any connected device. ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN app on all major mobile and connected TV devices and platforms, including Amazon Fire, Apple, Android, Chromecast, PS4, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, X Box One and more.
UFC’s digital brands — UFC.TV, UFC.com and UFC App — will continue to serve as a consumer entry point for PPV events. Once there, fans will be directed to ESPN+ on ESPN.com, where they will be able to purchase and watch UFC PPV events.
UFC made its record-setting debut on ESPN+ on January 19, 2019, logging 568,000 new subscribers over two days. The debut marked the largest event and subscription catalyst for ESPN+ to date. Through its base subscription package ($4.99 / month, $49.99 / year), ESPN+ already offers 20 UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night events, as well as hundreds of hours of original and on-demand programming.