ESPN and UFC have announced a 5 year deal worth $750 million for a major portion of UFC’s live events starting in 2018. The deal focuses mainly on the ESPN+ app and has 15 live events currently scheduled for the app.
UFC is still free to negotiate another with other networks on the rest of their live events offerings such as Pay-Per-View and former FOX specials. UFC had 4 specials a year air on the FOX Broadcast Network as well as many live events on FX, Fox Sports 1 and the UFC owned Fight Pass.
FOX may acquire the rights to broadcast the remaining UFC events. According to Bloomberg, UFC has another $300 Millions sitting on the table.
Commentary: One has to wonder what this means for the UFC owned Fight Pass platform. ESPN+ is only $5 a month where Fight Pass is $10 a month. Does UFC hope they can keep their subscribers on Fight Pass and also help ESPN grow their Over-The-Top streaming offerings?
The other thing to think about is how UFC will decide on what card airs where. Will UFC basically offer the biggest cards that aren’t for PPV to ESPN, or will FOX retain the rights for those? Does Disney step up and offer more money to get those rights and air fights on the ABC Network?
More questions than answers right now.