ESPN announced on Tuesday that it will air UFC content on its ESPN+ app. The sports network announced that they had bought the rights to air 12-round cards plus pre-event and post-event shows over the next five years starting January 2019. The agreement will see ESPN pay $150 million per year.

15 events dubbed UFC on ESPN Plus Fight Night will be streamed live under the agreement. The events will be exclusive to ESPN+.

All genres of sports content

Apart from UFC events, ESPN+ subscribers- who pay $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly- will also be able to access UFC’s historical library and stream new seasons of Dana White’s Contender Series.

Dana White’s Contender Series is a mixed martial arts talent search program. Subscribers will, however, have to pay additional charges to access UFC Fight Pass and other pay-per-view events.

Kevin Mayer, the Direct-to-Consumer, and International chairman said in a statement that bringing all genres of sports content to fans was one of their goals for ESPN+. He added that the agreement was illustrative of the commitment to that goal and that they were looking forward to providing UFC's growing fan base with a wide selection of live events.

He also said he hoped for a long-term relationship with the mixed martial arts industry leader.

Home run

The UFC president, Dana White, said that the deal with ESPN was a home run for both partners and that it would continue to grow the sport. He said being able to overcome barriers and deliver to their fan base was exciting.

The fans would no longer have to stay glued in front of a TV to catch their favorite fights.

In the statement, White bragged of the UFC's ability to bag the right deals always with the ESPN deal being one of them.

UFC's current deal with Fox that has been in place since 2011 expires at the end of this year with a new deal yet to be announced. The current deal sees Fox main network and Fox Sports 1 cable channel broadcast four events and a number of other UFC events to their fanbase. It is believed that the UFC is still engaging both Fox and the NBC about maintaining the broadcast package though.

ESPN+ launched in April 2018 and gives subscribers a more convenient way of accessing ESPN content and live programmes. It already includes live games from the MLB, NHL, NBA, MLS, Grand Slam Tennis, PGA Golf, cricket, rugby, Canadian and English leagues football among others. Despite the subscription, viewers are still subjected to limited ads during live streaming.