The UFC and ESPN are clearly happy with their relationship. The two sides extended their agreement for two years yesterday. As part of that deal, the UFC is making its pay-per-view events ESPN+ exclusive content.
John Ourand of The Sports Business Journal reports that the deal is believed to be worth somewhere in the range of $300 million. Neither side would comment on how the revenue from the new pay-per-view arrangement would be split, but it is known that Disney and ESPN do not plan to work with companies like InDemand or DirecTV to make UFC pay-per-views available on linear television.
UFC will still be able to sell their events to bars and restaurants. The organization will also handle its own international distribution.
The deal will not work like pay-per-view events on the WWE Network. UFC pay-per-view events will still be an additional cost for ESPN+ subscribers and according to Ourand, neither company is inclined to offer users a discount on the $59.99 rate they are used to paying for pay-per-view events.
ESPN is said to be introducing a deal that would allow a new subscriber to receive a year of ESPN+ and one UFC pay-per-view event for $79.99.
One side effect to pay attention to is how this deal will effect UFC Fight Pass. The UFC’s proprietary streaming service will remain in business, but it does not offer any exclusive fights or original content. Could we see a day where it is absorbed by ESPN?