The days of UFC on FOX will soon be over after the UFC signed a new media rights deal with FOX rival ESPN beginning in January of 2019.
The ESPN deal marks the end of seven years on FOX and FOX Sports networks, which was signed back in 2011. The multi-year ESPN deal will include 15 live events per year which will be branded “UFC on ESPN”. Each event will contain 12-fights.
The partnership with ESPN will also include streaming services for UFC content, with subscriptions costing $4.99 a month or $49.99 per year.
UFC President Dana White was ecstatic about the deal (MMA Mania):
“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 UFC began fielding offers for a new media rights after FOX allegedly lowballed them.
Those who subscribe to the UFC’s content on ESPN will have access to:
- Exclusive, all new-seasons of “Dana White’s Contender Series” beginning in June 2019
- A new original, all-access series produced by IMG Original Content
- Exclusive pre- and post-event shows for all 15 “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Nights”
- Non-exclusive access to UFC’s full archive of programming, including historic events, classic bouts, and original programming
- Additional UFC-branded content, including “UFC Countdown” shows, press conferences, weigh-ins, and pre-and post-shows
No word yet on how this will impact UFC Fight Pass, which is the UFC’s current content streaming platform.
The FOX deal officially ends at the end of 2018.