The relationship between UFC and ESPN has been extended through 2025.
It was announced today that pay-per-view events will be moving to the ESPN+ subscription streaming service. The agreement kicks in with the next pay-per-view, UFC 236, on April 13 in Atlanta.
The new agreement will allow UFC to keep their existing deals with restaurants and bars but fans watching at home will have a one-stop shop destination for all 12 of their pay-per-view events. The prelims will continue airing on ESPN.
“With the addition of UFC pay-per-view events, we are making ESPN+ an absolute must-have for any fan of the UFC and mixed martial arts,” stated Kevin Mayer, the chairman of The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer & international division. (Disney owns ESPN.) “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.”
Fans that pay $79.99 for one year of ESPN+ will get one pay-per-view event with that option. Current ESPN+ subscribers will be able to purchase pay-per-view events separately for $59.99 each and additional packaging options could become available in the future.
“Today’s announcement further establishes the strength of the partnership between UFC and ESPN,” UFC President Dana White said. “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.”
This news is a clear indication that both sides are happy with their partnership. UFC has helped deliver strong ratings since debuting on ESPN in January. The ESPN+ streaming service passed 2 million subscribers last month and that was boosted heavily by UFC programming.