Following the announcement two weeks ago that ESPN and UFC had agreed to a deal to bring the MMA promotions events to the ESPN+ app (you can find that here), it was said that FOX was still in play to keep some of the company’s television rights (check that out here). Today, that’s no longer the case.
ESPN has announced that they have committed to a five year contract with UFC to pickup all of its television rights, which will include thirty events per year. This makes the entirety of the package worth $1.5 billion and it’s expected that the deal will be officially announced later today.
EA’s Take: Far be it from me to call $1.5 billion a disappointment, but after FOX just paid $1 billion to broadcast SmackDown Live, which is still considered WWE’s “B-Show”, I think that says a lot. This was really not a great time for the UFC’s television rights negotiations to be happening after Conor McGregor’s tirade, losing Ronda Rousey to WWE, plus the real downturn in popularity for the sport. Who are their big names right now? Who are UFC’s stars? I’m not a big UFC fan, but if I can’t come up with a name off the top of my head that transcends, that’s not a good thing and I’m betting it hurt them money-wise. Hell, FOX paid half a billion less JUST for SmackDown. Just think about that.
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