Dana White has confirmed the UFC will have sit-down talks with ESPN about their current broadcasting deal.
The deal was signed in 2018 and is set to expire in 2025. Under the agreement, UFC fights are exclusively on ESPN, including PPV fights. The deal is allegedly worth $1.5 billion. But with less than a year to go, White expects the future to be sorted soon.
“Our deal is coming up. I believe that talks will begin with ESPN within the next three to four months,” White stated
There are alternatives available for the UFC. Combat sports are shifting towards streaming platforms. DAZN’s deal with Matchroom Boxing and PBC’s agreement with Amazon Prime Video has opened up a new market. The UFC is an attractive acquisition for many reasons.
Its global appeal was shown during the pandemic. Its viewing figures continued to rise when in-person events were cancelled. The brand is also growing following the UFC and WWE’s merger to form TKO Group Holdings Inc. Now Netflix will air WWE RAW exclusively starting from January 2025 in a ten-year deal, showing there is potential for the UFC to air its content on a streaming platform.
BREAKING: Netflix is getting into live sports.
The streaming platform will air WWE's Raw starting next year as part of a 10-year, $5 billion deal.
This is massive news for the future of sports rights. pic.twitter.com/ocEm9CiFp0
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) January 23, 2024
WWE Raw is coming to Netflix!
— WWE (@WWE) January 23, 2024
Unlike other sports, the UFC does not have to deal with off-season breaks, making it an all-year-round experience. The organization is also ahead of its competitors, with the PFL and One Championship failing to match the UFC’s live gates and viewing figures. As we have reported previously, White sees a bright future.
“You can look at some of the things Amazon’s done and think whatever [about them], but it’s all about when rights become available. That’s when you’re going to see people making big moves. Who’s going to be first to be the big, dominant player out there [in streaming sports]? Man, we were doing fights that should have done 350,000 [pay-per-view sales], and they wound up doing a million. There was nothing else on. As technology continues to get better, the UFC continues to get bigger. We can reach more people,” White said