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UFC signs deal to broadcast shows on ESPN+, reportedly worth $150M per year

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UFC has partnered up with ESPN to host and stream events online.

The UFC has found a new online partner, announcing a “groundbreaking agreement” with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN that will see UFC events and other programming on their digital platform ESPN+.

The partnership will start January 2019, and will see 15 live UFC events exclusively on ESPN+. According to the announcement, these shows will be branded as “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night,” and will have 12 bouts each.

Also mentioned on the press release are other UFC branded shows and content that will be airing on ESPN+. This includes future seasons of Dana White’s Contender Series, which will debut on June 2019, plus programming such as “a new original, all-access series produced by IMG Original Content”, pre- and post-event shows for ESPN+ cards, and others.

Apart from online content, the deal will also see “an exclusive 30-minute special” on ESPN’s linear TV networks to market and preview upcoming UFC events, as well as replays of pay-per-view events.

The future of the UFC’s digital streaming platform in Fight Pass wasn’t explicitly discussed, but the announcement mentioned that fans can purchase and watch UFC Fight Pass and UFC PPV events via ESPN+, “for a separate cost.”

Specifics of the deal weren’t announced, but Sports Business Daily reports that the agreement will be for five years, worth $150 million annually. They also stated that because of this, other online platforms like Amazon will not have rights to stream non-PPV UFC events.

ESPN+ has a subscription that will cost fans $4.99 monthly, or $49.99 a year.