Home / Sports / ESPN is said to have taken over UFC's TV deal from Fox, which will instead focus on WWE

ESPN is said to have taken over UFC's TV deal from Fox, which will instead focus on WWE

earlier this month ESPN announced that it has reached an agreement with the UFC to stream 15 events exclusively via its ESPN + app and pay $ 150 million annually over five years for the right. But this deal apparently only represented half of Bristol's interest in mixed martial arts: on Wednesday morning, several outlets reported that ESPN was bidding war on UFC's entire non-PPV broadcast package at an annual cost of another $ 150 million over five years and the winner is. 19659003] Fox had the rights to the latter package since 2011 and paid around $ 120 million annually, but the network announced this week that it will pay $ 1 billion over five years for the right to write the WWE "SmackDown Live" wrestling Broadcasting Program on Friday

According to Sports Business Journal's John Ourand, the ESPN contract will submit 27 additional UFC events to the network each year, including 10 full events and 12 preliminary pay-per-view tickets broadcast on network channels. The ESPN + app will be added to the previously announced 15 additional five events. UFC retains control of its pay-per-view cards and continues to limit it to 12 per year.

Given the fact that rising sports rights have in part contributed to the recent financial struggles of ESPN, the move to cut costs at UFC by $ 300 million annually was surprising to some observers. But live events are the only thing that TV stations can rely on in the era of cable cutting, and ESPN will now have a significant new range of them when the deal begins next year.

The new ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro is reportedly thinking highly of the demographic reach of UFC, and said earlier this year that martial arts – ESPN also has a deal with Top Rank Boxing – "are of interest to us."

"UFC is a leading global sports property with legions of unbelievably enthusiastic fans, Pitaro said in announcing the ESPN + deal earlier this month." We are pleased to announce their world-class events and content on ESPN + and the ESPN Networks can bring. This agreement shows that we feel committed to providing the best on our entire platform for fans.

Meanwhile, UFC faced a difficult situation negotiating new TV packages, with name-brand stars such as Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor and Brock Lesnar at the distance from the Octagon, rating for UFC events dropped On the main Fox network in 2017, by an average of almost 22 percent to just over 2 million viewers, while tickets to The Fox Sports 1 cable network averaged nearly 800,000 viewers, down 18 percent, this year recording the UFC on Fox 29 in April, an increase in viewership by 1 percent over the comparable card in 2017, but a decrease of 19 percent compared to the April card in 2016. The value of 1.2 for the second best placement (19659009) reading More from The Post:

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