It looks like Fox Sports is out, and ESPN is in the game! ESPN was able to secure the full broadcast rights for the UFC events! The deal starts in 2019 but it also means Fox Sports will not broadcast UFC events anymore! Fox Sports was in the game since 2011.
ESPN, the digital streaming ESPN+, and its group of networks will be small screen and non-pay-per-view area for UFC! As good as it is for those who don’t want to invest money into watching their favorite fighters, quality lovers might find this at least unsatisfactory. ESPN confirmed this report on Wednesday morning. (via MMAFighting.com)
ESPN published on May 8th that 15 UFC events per year for ESPN+ are secured, and it is scheduled to start in 2019. The Sports Business Journal claims it is a deal for five years, and its value is $150 million per year. It will also include some elements of the UFC Fight Pass and Tuesday Night Contender Series by Dana White.
The revised deal will be having Disney-owned ESPN getting 30 UFC cards per year. It might push the valuation of the contract to the price many people cannot even dream of – a total of $1.5 billion over that same span of time, $300 million per year. The number of pay-per-view events per year is still unknown, but it is believed the current number of 12 or 13 shouldn’t be changed.
Fox didn’t offer that much money. It was paying $100 million per year during the seven years of the contract. UFC was thinking to get around $400 million per year when the deal expired. Looks like ESPN currently can offer a lot more!
As few outlets reported earlier this week, Fox Sports signed a deal with WWE, and their goal is to bring the Smackdown show to their network at the beginning of 2019. The Hollywood Reporter is even claiming that Fox pays the tremendous amount of $205 million per year for the program, and it is also moving it from Tuesday to Friday night.
Smackdown show is currently broadcasted by USA Network. WWE’s Raw Show has few potential buyers. It is rumored that NBC Universal prepares a gigantic offer. What do you think, is there a chance that ESPN will do a better job than Fox Sports?