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Newsday (New York)


The world's biggest mixed martial arts promotion is bringing the octagon to the "worldwide leader in sports."

The UFC and the Walt Disney Company announced an agreement Tuesday to stream exclusive events on ESPN+, the company's new subscription-based, direct-to-consumer streaming service.

According to a news release, the deal provides for 15 live UFC events to stream exclusively on the platform branded as "UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night" with a full card of 12 bouts.

A report by Sports Business Daily said ESPN will pay $150 million per year over five years for the deal, which covers rights for UFC's digital package.

"UFC has always done deals with the right partners at the right time and this one is no exception," said UFC president Dana White in a statement. "We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it."

The agreement also includes a lineup of new UFC content on ESPN+, such as new seasons of "Dana White's Contender Series" beginning in June 2019, as well as pre- and post-fight shows, original content produced by IMG, non-exclusive access to UFC archives and additional fight-week content.

According to the release, ESPN's linear networks also will receive an influx of UFC content, including a 30-minute show previewing each UFC pay-per-view events, UFC library programming and re-airs of past pay-per-view events.

Fight fans also will have the chance to purchase and view UFC Fight Pass events and UFC pay-per-views through ESPN+.

ESPN+ is the broadcaster's new direct-to-consumer streaming service outside of the typical cable subscription model. For $4.99 per month, or $49.99 per year, viewers receive access to additional live events not available on ESPN's networks, as well as on-demand content and original programming. The service will include MLB, NHL, MLS, Grand Slam tennis, boxing, golf, college sports, and more.

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May 9, 2018


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