It is now clear that Donald Cerrone will not be fighting Conor McGregor after all of that speculation as a fight between him and streaking prospect, Alexander Hernandez is now official. Continue reading “Report: Cerrone vs. Hernandez at lightweight confirmed for ESPN card”
It looks like the UFC are beginning to load up for their first ever ESPN event. Following reports yesterday that the promotion were plotting to match Robbie Lawler against Stephen Thompson, it now appears they are working to add two popular flyweights to the card with Rachael Ostovich (4-4-0) set to face Paige VanZant (7-4-0).
The UFC and The Walt Disney Company’s new Direct-To-Consumer & International segment along with ESPN, have reached an immersive, multi-year media rights agreement for exclusive live UFC content on ESPN+, as well as across a variety of ESPN’s television, social and digital platforms, in English and Spanish, taking effect in January 2019.
UFC officials have confirmed to MMAMotion that the deal includes 15 live UFC events to stream exclusively on ESPN+. Each event will be branded “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” and will deliver a full card of 12 UFC bouts.
“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. said UFC president Dana White. “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.”
A subscription ESPN+ subscription will cost fans $4.99 a month or $49.99 for a year. In addition to the live events and content included in the ESPN+ subscription, fight fans will be able to purchase and watch UFC FIGHT PASS® (UFC’s DTC streaming offering) and UFC PPV events via ESPN+, for a separate cost.
In addition to the fight night events, the deal also includes the following:
- 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
There has been significant speculation around the future of the UFC on TV over the last few months. With the promotions existing TV deal with FOX due to expire later this year, the UFC have been actively looking for a new US TV partner.
According to a report by Variety, the two powerhouses have put together a proposal which would see ESPN host as many as 15 events on their new streaming service ESPN+.
Variety reports that ESPN are prepared to pay between $120-180 million per year in a deal which would add the UFC to it’s growing collection of live events rights. Fox are reportedly prepared to increase their investment to c.$200 million per year, a significant increase from the $120 million they paid per year under the current deal. The sources cited by Variety claim that the total number of events hosted by FOX on both FOX Broadcasting and FS1 would decrease slightly under the proposed deal.
ESPN launched their new streaming service last week at a cost of $4.99 per month. It is yet to be seen what impact ESPN’s potential acquisition of UFC rights would mean for UFC Fight Pass customers.
As the deal is for US TV rights, the deal will not impact viewers in other territories where existing deals are in place.
Representatives for the UFC, ESPN and FOX declined to comment on the situation when approached by Variety.