On the heels of FOX closing in on a five-year deal with WWE’s SmackDown Live brand worth over $1 billion, ESPN has reached a second agreement with UFC, Fortune reports.
Last October, the exclusive negotiating period between UFC and FOX expired, giving the brand an opportunity to shop their television rights package to other companies. WWE started talking with FOX around that time, as executives from both parties initially met at the close of 2017. For WWE, NBC Universal decided to retain their partnership with the Raw brand, while FOX commenced a billion-dollar five-year deal to acquire SmackDown.
Just a few weeks ago, Disney’s new Direct-To-Consumer & International segment along with ESPN reached a $150 million per year agreement to exclusively air 15 full-card events on their ESPN+ platform, effective January 2019. ESPN has now struck a second $150 million five-year deal with UFC to broadcast and stream more than 30 fights a year.
According to USA Today, the broadcast deal will include 10 full UFC cards along with the preliminary card for a dozen UFC pay-per-view shows. Combined with the April agreement, the deal is said to be worth $1.5 billion. Both deals begin on January 1st.