Okay, I’ve been wracking my brain on this topic for the past three weeks ever since the word became official.
A quick recap
For those who might have missed the news on Mar. 18, ESPN and the Ultimate Fighting Championship extended the current United States streaming and TV deal for UFC events for an additional two years.
The amended contract, now scheduled to lapse at the end of the 2025 calendar year, adds a new wrinkle that changes the way to watch UFC pay-per-view main cards.
Effective with the Saturday, Apr. 13 UFC 236 main card, ESPN+ will now be the rightsholder for all UFC pay-per-view main cards going forward inside the United States.
As was previously announced, existing ESPN+ subscribers will pay $60 for the events. New subscribers can pay for an $80 ESPN+ package to watch the pay-per-views.
Here now are a few bullet points to take note of as the UFC 236 main card draws near on Apr. 13:
First of all, with the main cards now exclusive to ESPN+ in the United States, a fan could watch the entire night’s event on their computer, if they so choose. Case in point: I will regularly watch the UFC event on my laptop if it’s a non-PPV card.
It makes live-tweeting the events a breeze, since I’ll have the ESPN stream in one tab and Twitter open in the other.
Now, with pay-per-views added to the ESPN+ UFC lineup, fans like myself can watch the entirety of every UFC card on their computers for the coming years.
Appeal to cord-cutters
Let’s say that you’re an MMA fan, but you do not have cable to watch a UFC pay-per-view main cards on TV. Before, your only options were to buy the official stream of a pay-per-view from UFC.tv or call your local bar to ask if they were planning to show the event.
Now, you can subscribe to ESPN+ and buy the pay-per-view events this way.
In all honesty, this is a winning move for everybody involved. It also illustrates the facts concerning demographics. UFC President Dana White mentioned when the deal was initially announced that the UFC caters to a young demographic.
These days, young people are not necessarily watching TV to view sporting events or the latest installments of scripted episodic offerings.
If they’re not watching on television as a program airs, they’re watching the show after the fact through their DVR, and if they’re not watching after the fact on DVR, they’re watching through a streaming video platform.
Streaming platforms like DAZN offer combat sports regularly. In recent months, DAZN has started to offer boxing events.
With the UFC streaming its pay-per-view main cards exclusively through ESPN+, ESPN can now effectively compete with DAZN for viewers and subscriptions.
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