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UFC enters into distribution deal with ESPN

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MUMBAI: UFC and ESPN have entered into a distribution agreement this month according to reports. As a result of this deal, ESPN and its subscription-based broadband service, ESPN+, will offer mixed martial arts fans a new array of UFC matches and special programming under a new rights deal unveiled on Tuesday.

ESPN+ will exclusively stream 15 live UFC events under the title of “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night”. Each will deliver a full card of 12 UFC bouts.

ESPN will make available an array of UFC content across its cable networks and digital outlets, including an exclusive 30-minute special on its linear networks previewing upcoming bouts and breaking down match ups leading up to each UFC pay per view event, along with hundreds of hours of UFC library programming and re-airs of current UFC PPV events.

ESPN+ was launched on 12 April at $4.99 (Rs 336) per month with a mix of content, including select games from MLB, NHL and out-of-market MLS games.

“I couldn’t be more excited to partner with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN on an agreement that will continue to grow our sport. UFC has always done deals with the right partners at the right time and this one is no exception,” said UFC president Dana White.

Fox signed a seven-year television deal with UFC in 2011 and, late last year, put in a roughly $200 million bid to secure those rights.

“We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it. UFC’s fan base is among the youngest in US professional sports, with a median age of 40 and an audience comprising 40 per cent millennials,” White added.

In addition to the live events and content included in the ESPN+ subscription, fight fans will be able to purchase and watch the UFC’s own streaming offering, UFC Fight Pass, for a separate cost, via the ESPN outlet.

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