The UFC has reached a deal for their TV rights, and it's a big one. Its TV deal with FOX, which began in 2011, ends this year.
Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, returned in 1985 after a detour to Alaska and has been here since, specializing in high schools, college basketball, the National Football League and most recently sports media and business.
According to ESPN, the company will also air UFC content across multiple platforms, including a 30-minute special before every UFC pay-per-view event, as well as re-airs of previous fights.
The world's biggest mixed martial arts organization and Disney's new direct-to-consumer and global division and ESPN on Tuesday unveiled their exclusive distribution pact that will see live UFC content also appear on ESPN's TV, social and digital platforms, in English and Spanish. No further details were given regarding the future of UFC Fight Pass, which is the promotion's own digital streaming service. The parent company was reportedly looking for a deal in the range of $450 million annually, but offers from current home FOX and competitors were significantly lower. "We look forward to providing UFC's enthusiastic, growing fan base with a wide array of live events and building a lasting relationship with the industry leader in mixed martial arts". Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time. "This agreement shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the very best across our entire platform".
The deal applies only to the sports giant's new streaming service, ESPN+.
The upside to the deal for the UFC is expanded coverage on ESPN, something the promotion has long coveted.
In addition to live, exclusive events, the lineup of UFC content available to ESPN+ subscribers will include new seasons of Dana White's Contender Series; a new original, all-access series produced by IMG Original Content; archive programming and UFC content like "countdown" shows, weigh-ins, etc.