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ESPN and UFC strike multi-year digital rights deal
July 20 2018, 08:21 | Van Peters
ESPN Enters The Octagon With UFC Streaming Deal
UFC and The Walt Disney Company have reached a multi-year media rights deal that will see exclusive UFC content on ESPN+ including 30-minute specials, content from UFC's library as well as re-runs of pay-per-view airings on ESPN's linear networks.
The world's biggest mixed martial arts organization and Disney's new direct-to-consumer and worldwide division and ESPN on Tuesday unveiled their exclusive distribution pact that will see live UFC content also appear on ESPN's TV, social and digital platforms, in English and Spanish.
ESPN+ subscribers will also be able to purchase and watch UFC's own digital streaming offering UFC Fight Pass and UFC pay-per-view events via ESPN+ for an additional cost.
BC-MMA-UFC-Disney Deal, 1st Ld-Writethru, 294UFC fights will be streamed on ESPN Plus starting in JanuaryEds: Updates.
Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year). We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want. Each event will be branded "UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night" and will deliver a full card of 12 UFC bouts. "This agreement shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the very best across our entire platform".
The arrangement, a first between the UFC and ESPN, is a substantial new asset for the $5-a-month subscription service, which now features a selection of Major League Baseball and National Hockey League games, plus a grab-bag of other sports. ESPN will also archive and televise previous fights on ESPN platforms.
Meanwhile, the UFC is free to negotiate with other partners for the rest of its live rights. This promises to be one heckuva streaming service as well. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2018, UFC boasts more than 284 million fans worldwide and has produced over 400 events in 21 countries since its inception in 1993.
The deal is for digital rights only and doesn't include over-the-air broadcasts.