On The Eve Of 2019, UFC Begins Its Exclusive $1.5B Alliance With ESPN
Friday, December 28, 2018 at 04:29PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Disney Company, ESPN, MMA, UFC, UFC, sports marketing

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December 28, 2018:
UFC said today it would being its multi-year alliance with ESPN with six hours of UFC coverage beginning New Year’s Eve.

A special three-hour, live version of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show will start Dec. 31, followed by UFC Main Event: Khabib vs. McGregor, a one-hour re-cap and analysis of the lightweight championship bout at UFC 229.

That will be followed by four half-hour “UFC Top 10” shows documenting the top "Monumental Moments, Slugfests, Title Fights and One-Round Wars in UFC history."

All six hours will be televised on ESPN2, with the UFC Main Event and Top 10 shows then available on-demand on ESPN+.

In May, Walt Disney Co. signed a $1.5 billion to put all UFC programming on the ESPN platforms.

The entire rights package moves from Fox Sports.

The programming news comes as UFC prepares for its final event of 2018, UFC 232, scheduled for Dec. 29, which relocated from Las Vegas to The Forum in Los Angeles due to legal issues connected to drug testing for top-rated fighter Jon Jones.

Jones is headlining UFC 232 taking on Alexander Gustafsson, also featuring Cris Cyborg versus Amanda Nunes.

The first three months of 2019 will see UFC events across ESPN+ and ESPN networks. Every week for 11 consecutive weeks, ESPN+ will showcase more than 36 hours of exclusive UFC action; ESPN linear networks will add another 18 hours (with all 54 hours available in both English and Spanish.)

Beginning in January, ESPN+ and ESPN will be the exclusive digital and linear distributors of UFC in the U.S., showcasing 42 live events, 30 of which will feature a full card of 12 UFC bouts.

ESPN+ will offer 20 exclusive events and all preliminary fights for “UFC Fight Night on ESPN” programs, while ESPN linear networks will broadcast ten events, as well as all UFC pay-per-view preliminary fights.

In addition to live, exclusive events, the lineup of UFC content available to ESPN+ subscribers is scheduled to include exclusive pre- and post-event shows for all 15 UFC on ESPN+ Fight Nights; UFC-branded content, including “UFC Countdown” shows, press conferences, weigh-ins and pre-and post-shows; exclusive, new seasons of Dana White’s Contender Series (beginning June 2019).

Also available will be non-exclusive access to UFC’s full archive of programming, including historic events, classic bouts and original programming.

Disney, ESPN, UFC $1.5B Deal Pins Down Excluding Alliance

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