Update 12:28 PT:

ESPN and UFC have made the deal official. Here is what they are saying:

  • Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks: “ESPN’s unparalleled multimedia platform is the perfect home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties.  UFC fans are passionate and loyal and we plan to bring the full power of ESPN’s live coverage, powerful storytelling and unmatched distribution to serve them in an unprecedented fashion. We can’t wait to get started.”
  • Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-To-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company: “The expansion of our relationship with UFC is an exciting development for fight fans.  Delivering 20 exclusive UFC fight nights per year and a host of original content to UFC’s young, passionate and tech-savvy fan base, makes ESPN+ the clear new digital home for UFC and further establishes our new service as the leading platform for direct-to-consumer sports streaming.”
  • Dana White, President, UFC:  “Every year for the last 18 years, we have taken this sport and brand to another level. We find innovative ways to promote our athletes and build stars. Today is another monumental day for UFC, our athletes, and our fans. We are now part of the ESPN family, recognized around the world as the pinnacle in sports broadcasting. I am very excited for this next chapter for UFC.” With more than 280 million fans around the world, UFC boasts the youngest fan base among major professional sports organizations in the US with a median age of 40 and an audience comprising 40% millennials.

Original Story:

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ESPN has outbid Fox for the television rights for mixed-martial arts brand UFC.

Reported Details About the Deal:

  • The term of the deal is 5 years
  • ESPN will pay $150 million per year for TV rights in addition to the $150 million per year for the previously announced digital deal
  • Fox had been paying about $115 million per year under deal that expires at the end of the year
  • ESPN will broadcast 10 events on TV in addition to 12 pay-per-view preliminaries. This is in addition to digital matches
  • UFC will retain the rights to 12 pay-per-view events annually

What Does the Deal Mean:

  • Disney just outbid Fox for the rights as they are trying to buy part of Fox
  • Comcast announced plans to outbid Disney for Fox assetts
  • This is first major investment in mixed martial arts by ESPN
  • First major deal done by new ESPN head Jimmy Pitaro
  • Fox recently negotiated major rights deal with WWE, which will remain with New Fox

Other ESPN Quick Takes:

  • Danica Patrick to host the 2018 ESPYS
  • ESPN will televise every game of the NCAA Division I Softball Super Regionals for the 12th consecutive year
  • ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team will sit with the fans at Wrigley Field during this weekend’s telecast
  • ESPN drew its highest-rated conference finals Game 4 in six years
  • ESPN Deportes will broadcast this year’s Super Bowl in spanish


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