UFC Lands New Distribution Deal with ESPN Streaming Service, Possible Impact On WWE TV Rights

According to a new Variety report, ESPN and its subscription streaming serviced ESPN+ has landed a new deal to distribute UFC content.

The deal will see ESPN+ distribute UFC fights and special programming titled “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night,” and will include 15 live events each boasting a full 12 fight card.

“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,” said Dana White, UFC’s president, in a prepared statement. “We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it.”

The new deal is noteworthy as it pertains to WWE considering UFC is currently under a deal with FOX, which has rumored high interest in negotiating for WWE’s TV rights when the company’s deal with NBCUniversal expires next year.

Sports Business Daily reports ESPN has committed to pay $150M per year over five years as part of the deal, and Fox, which currently pays $120 million per year UFC rights, would be willing see that number increase to a little more than $200 million.

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The likelihood of WWE and UFC airing on the same network is low, and considering WWE is looking to secure a $400 million TV rights deal it will be interesting to see how the negotiations play out during the time that is left on the NBCUniversal deal.

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