May 8, 2018
Walt Disney is getting into the octagon.
Mixed martial arts league UFC and The Walt Disney Co. May 8 announced a 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 next January.
The inaugural distribution agreement provides for 15 live UFC events to stream exclusively on ESPN+, the recently-launched $4.99 monthly direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, in partnership with ESPN. Each event will be branded “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” and will deliver a full card of 12 UFC bouts.
“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,” Kevin Mayer, chairman, direct to consumer and international, at Disney, said in a statement.
With more than 280 million fans around the world, UFC boasts the youngest fan base among major professional sports organizations in the U.S., with a median age of 40 and an audience comprising 40% millennials.
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 OTT streaming offering) and UFC PPV events via ESPN+, for a separate cost.
“We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it,” said Dana White, president of the UFC.
ESPN will also showcase a variety of UFC content across ESPN’s linear and digital platforms, including 30-minute specials previewing upcoming bouts; hundreds of hours of UFC library programming; 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+ is 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.