FOX Sports has reacted to the news of a new TV deal between the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and ESPN.
Word broke that the UFC and ESPN had agreed to a five-year television deal worth $1.5 billion. The deal would bring a total of 30 events shared between ESPN’s major networks and their digital platform ESPN+ in 2019. Pay-Per-Views and UFC Fight Pass will still be crucial parts of the promotion’s business model. The UFC confirmed those reports earlier today (May 23).
The deal will mark the end of a seven-year relationship between the UFC and FOX. The UFC has brought a bevy of content over to FOX Sports 1 and 2. In addition to that, the 30th UFC event on the major FOX network will take place on July 28.
Public relations executive for FOX Sports John Stouffer sent a statement to MMAJunkie.com:
“FOX Sports has enjoyed an amazing partnership with the UFC over the last seven years. As FOX Sports was planning the launch of FS1, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta were the first partners to believe in the idea and vision of the new network. We look forward to finishing out 2018 with more exciting live events and wish the UFC continued success in the years to come.”
News recently surfaced of FOX landing TV rights for WWE’s SmackDown Live brand. That too is a five-year deal worth $1 billion. How the FOX Sports brand will fare post-UFC will be an interesting topic next year.
The higher ups at the UFC are no strangers to jumping ship when the time is right. The company had a minor deal with FOX Sports Net before landing on Spike TV where the promotion shattered the glass ceiling. They moved to FOX six years later and have now landed the dream deal with ESPN.
Do you think the UFC made the right move to strike a deal with ESPN?