UFC On ESPN: Full Story & Must-See Details

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship is looking to negotiate a new UFC TV deal, and two rival companies could be coming together to strike a deal on the new UFC package. According to a report from Variety, ESPN and FOX Sports are set to team up for a proposal to land the premier mixed martial arts organization.
The UFC has reportedly been asking potential suitors for $300-$400 million per year.
FOX previously held television rights for the UFC, but their seven-year deal which pays $200 million per year is set to expire at the end of the year. The UFC and FOX had an exclusive negotiation period, but they were never able to agree to terms.
As part of the agreement with ESPN, the UFC would air multiple events each year on the recently launched ESPN+ platform that costs $4.99 per month.
From the report:

Fox, which currently pays $120 million per year UFC rights, would be willing see that number increase to a little more than $200 million. Fox’s current package includes four Saturday-night fights per year on Fox Broadcasting and a number of fight events on cabler Fox Sports 1 that has increased annually under its current agreement. A joint bid with ESPN would see Fox’s total number of events decline slightly.

For ESPN, a UFC deal would provide premium live-event content for the fledgling ESPN+ service not currently available on the company’s linear cable channels. ESPN+ launched last week at $4.99 per month with a mix of content including select games from MLB, NHL and out-of-market MLS games. UFC could mark the first significant deal for Kevin Mayer, who was recently promoted to run a direct-to-consumer unit at ESPN parent company Disney, and the network’s new president, James Pitaro.

Officials from ESPN and FOX Sports have yet to comment.
In recent months, the UFC has seen television ratings rapidly decline, with a 22 percent drop in 2017. With a new TV deal that could land broadcasts on multiple cable networks, the UFC appears willing to pull out all of the stops to get as many eyes as possible on their product.


UPDATE (9:05 AM): The UFC has officially reached a deal with ESPN have come to a multi-year deal to air UFC fights and content on ESPN+, as well as across all of their television, social and digital platforms.
Dana White, President of the UFC, said with regards to the deal:

“I couldn’t be more excited to partner with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN on an agreement that will continue to grow our sport. UFC has always done deals with the right partners at the right time and this one is no exception. We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it. This deal is a home run for ESPN and UFC.”

The deal is set to take effect in January of 2019 as fights and content become available on ESPN services.

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