ESPN and the UFC have agreed to a new 5-year deal that will bring the mixed-martial arts league's entire rights package to ESPN. https://t.co/PBCI88q2bB— ESPN (@espn) May 23, 2018
ESPN is going all-in on the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
According to a report from Variety, ESPN has added the UFC’s television package to its deal, bring the total cost of the agreement to $1.5 billion — or approximately $300 million per year for five years.
ESPN confirmed the deal on Wednesday.
The deal will split the UFC contract between the sports cable network’s channels and its digital service, ESPN+. Per the new deal, 30 UFC events will air on various ESPN platforms beginning in 2019. That includes 10 main cards on ESPN’s television networks as well as 20 on ESPN+, which is five more than originally expected. Additionally, ESPN networks will broadcast prelims for the UFC’s pay-per-view events in 2019.
Earlier this month, UFC announced an agreement worth a reported $150 million annually that in 2019 would bring Fight Night events to ESPN+ along with Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, UFC Fight Pass programming and various other content.
Fox currently owns the UFC TV rights, but that contract expires at the conclusion of 2018. The UFC-Fox agreement, which began in 2011, was worth about $100 million annually. Fox appears to have turned its focus to sports entertainment, as it reportedly will pay $205 million per year for rights to WWE’s Smackdown program.