The new deal, announced Wednesday, follows an agreement announced earlier this month between ESPN and the UFC. Adding UFC to a mix that has already entered into agreements with any major sports league in the United States (except the NHL), as well as great college sports features like the college football playoff game, ESPN gives another reason to look for at least the same amount as it is available to provide cable and satellite video service (i.e. In: SlingTV and DirecTV Now). This first rights and distribution agreement between the two companies provides that 15 UFC live events will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN – the multi-sport streaming, consumer subscriptions service recently launched by Walt Disney Company`s Direct-to-Consumer and International group, in partnership with ESPN. Each event is marked “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” and provides a complete card of 12 UFC fights. According to ESPN and several reports, the entire rights package over the life of a five-year contract will cost $1.5 billion. Variety reported on the deal for the first time Wednesday morning. Kevin Mayer, President, Direct to Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company, said, “One of our goals for ESPN is to bring sports fans of all genres content they love and love passionately, and that`s what this agreement with UFC illustrates. We look forward to providing the enthusiastic and growing community of UFC fans with a wide range of live events and establishing a lasting relationship with the industry leader in mixed martial arts.
Jimmy Pitaro, president of ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Networks, said: “The UFC is a leading sporting object with legions of incredibly enthusiastic fans. We are pleased to bring their first-class events and content to ESPN and ESPN networks. This agreement demonstrates our commitment to providing fans with the best across our platform. The Walt Disney Co. has signed a seven-year contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship for the rights to sell and stream in its all-a-la-carte fights on the ESPN streaming service, starting in April. UFC®, the world`s leading organization for mixed martial arts, and the new international direct-to-consumer segment of Walt Disney Company and ESPN have entered into an immersive, multi-year media rights agreement for exclusive UFC content on ESPN, as well as a host of ESPN television, social and digital services platforms in English and Spanish. , which will come into force in January 2019.