In January, the UFC will officially kick off a new five year, $1.5 billion broadcast deal with ESPN after spending the last seven years on FOX and their networks.
According to White, when they first sat down to do the deal with ESPN, the Disney owned company had actually wanted the majority of shows to land on their new streaming service ESPN+.
White says he battled with ESPN to get more UFC shows on the linear ESPN networks, which is exactly what he got when the final deal was signed. Now there will be 10 UFC cards per year on ESPN’s networks with an additional 20 UFC Fight Night cards airing exclusively on ESPN+.
“They wanted most of the stuff to go to Plus,” White told the Sports Business Journal. “But I fought for more dates on ESPN. I love being part of the ESPN+ platform. It’s the future. It’s the way everything is going. When we finally got to a place where the deal was done, I felt great about it. I can’t wait. I’m beyond excited.”
Another monumental deal that White was able to work out just recently was a new percentage that would be paid out to pay-per-view providers.
Typically in the past, the UFC — like all events taking place on pay-per-view — paid a 50-percent share to cable or satellite providers to broadcast the shows while also advertising on their particular platform.
Now White has managed to whittle down the percentage taken by the pay-per-view providers down to ‘closer to 30-percent’, which is a huge amount of money saved over the course of a year.
For instance, if UFC 229 did approximately 2.4 million buys as reported with an average cost of $60 (standard definition goes for $54.99, high definition for $64.99) that means the entire show would have generated around $144 million on pay-per-view. Under the terms of the old deal, the UFC would have immediately split that down the middle with providers with each taking home approximately $72 million.
Under terms of the new deal if the UFC is only paying out approximately 30-percent of profits, that would be around $43.2 million. In other words, the UFC would be making a profit closer to $100 million by those figures.
It all adds up to a lot more money being made by the UFC on each and every pay-per-view broadcast, especially when talking about the biggest shows of the year like UFC 229 that will go down as the most profitable UFC pay-per-view card of all time.
In addition to those profits, the UFC keeps every penny of the pay-per-view sales made through online purchases through UFC.tv.
Judging by those numbers, the UFC is raking in a lot of profit right now from both their pay-per-view business as well as the lucrative new ESPN deal that will kick off in January.