Want to buy a UFC pay-per-view event? You’ll need an ESPN+ subscription.
The promotion announced Monday that ESPN’s streaming service would be the exclusive provider in the United States for pay-per-view events, eschewing traditional distribution methods such as cable and satellite providers, as well as the UFC’s official website and apps. The deal will cover all pay-per-view events through 2025.
The UFC and ESPN joined forces in 2018, announcing a deal to make the network and its streaming service the exclusive provider of preliminary bouts and non-PPV events starting in 2019. With the new agreement, that deal has been extended an additional two years through 2025.
UFC 236 on April 13 will be the promotion's first PPV event on the streaming service.
“With the addition of UFC PPV events, we are making ESPN+ an absolute must-have for any fan of the UFC and mixed martial arts,” said Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer & International, The Walt Disney Company, in a statement.
Under the agreement, new ESPN+ subscribers can get a one-year subscription plus a pay-per-view purchase for $79.99. Events are priced at $59.99 for existing subscribers. On its own, ESPN+ costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year, so a one-year subscription bundled with a UFC pay-per-event amounts to a $30 discount.
In a video posted to the UFC's official YouTube channel, president Dana White said he believes the deal is good for the promotion, its fighters, the fans and the sport.
“When we were with everybody, we couldn’t even offer discounts on pay-per-view and things like that,” White said in the video. “You’d have to get the approval of all these different groups. Now it’s a one-stop shop. ESPN is gonna be able to bundle, ESPN+ plus the pay-per-views. It’s not all worked out exactly how it’s gonna go down.”