Reach Groundbreaking Agreement with UFC for Media Rights & Distribution
Extensive live and on-demand content for ESPN+ direct-to-consumer streaming service
ESPN+ to also offer UFC FIGHT PASS® and UFC Pay-Per-View events
Las Vegas 5/8/2018 – UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, 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.
This first-ever rights and distribution agreement between the two companies provides for 15 live UFC events to stream exclusively on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International group, in partnership with ESPN. Each event will be branded “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” and will deliver a full card of 12 UFC bouts.
Kevin Mayer, Chairman, 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 are passionate about, and this agreement with UFC is illustrative of exactly that. 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.”
Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks said: “UFC is a premier global sports property with legions of incredibly avid fans. We are excited to be able to bring their world-class events and content to ESPN+ and the ESPN networks. This agreement shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the very best across our entire platform.”
Dana White, UFC President said: “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. 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.”
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.
Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year). To subscribe, fans simply download or open the ESPN App (or visit ESPNPlus.com). In addition to live, exclusive events, the lineup of UFC content available to ESPN+ subscribers will include:
- 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
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.
ESPN will also bring fans a variety of UFC content across ESPN’s widely consumed linear and digital platforms, including an exclusive, 30-minute special on ESPN’s linear networks previewing upcoming bouts and breaking down match ups leading up to each UFC PPV; hundreds of hours of UFC library programming on linear networks; and re-airs of current UFC PPV events.
The ESPN App and ESPN+ are available on mobile and TV-connected devices and on ESPN.com. The new ESPN App with ESPN+ are available on devices and platforms including Amazon (Fire TV, Fire Stick, Fire Smart TVs, Fire tablets), Android (Android phones, Android TV), Apple (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and supported in the Apple TV App), Chromecast and Roku.
ESPN+ is the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International group, in partnership with ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks. This includes hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, cricket, the full library of ESPN Films (including 30 for 30) and more. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time.
ESPN+ is an integrated part of a completely redesigned ESPN App. Already the leading sports app, the new ESPN App is the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans and a showcase of the company’s culture of innovation. With a richer, increasingly more personalized experience, the new ESPN App curates all of ESPN’s incredible content into an experience unique to each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through ESPN.com.
About Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International
Comprised of Disney’s international media businesses and the Company’s various streaming services, the Direct-to-Consumer and International segment aligns technology, content and distribution platforms to expand the Company’s global footprint and deliver world-class, personalized entertainment experiences to consumers around the world. The recently announced segment is responsible for The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer businesses globally, including the ESPN+ sports streaming service, programmed in partnership with ESPN; the upcoming Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service; and the Company’s ownership stake in Hulu. As part of the Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, BAMTECH Media, developer of the ESPN+ and Disney-branded streaming platforms, oversees all consumer-facing digital technology and products across the Company.
UFC® is a premium global sports brand and the largest Pay-Per-View event provider in the world. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2018, UFC boasts more than 284 million fans worldwide and has produced over 400 events in 21 countries since its inception in 1993. Acquired in 2016 by global sports, entertainment and fashion leader Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG), together with strategic partners Silver Lake Partners and KKR, UFC is headquartered in Las Vegas with a network of employees around the world. UFC produces more than 40 live events annually that consistently sell out some of the most prestigious arenas around the globe, while programming is broadcast in over 165 countries and territories to more than 1.1 billion TV households worldwide in 40 different languages. UFC FIGHT PASS®, a digital subscription service, delivers exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content to fans around the world. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram: @UFC.