What to Expect from ESPN for UFC
2019 is about a week old, as is the UFC’s current broadcast and streaming media deal with ESPN. The network wasted zero time in putting UFC programming on the air.
At the stroke of midnight Eastern Time last Tuesday morning, ESPN’s UFC schedule began with a three-hour marathon of the UFC’s episodic programs: UFC Main Event (an episode regarding the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor fight from UFC 229 on Oct. 6), followed by five straight episodes of UFC Top 10 from 12:30 to 3 a.m. ET.
The entirety of the marathon aired on ESPN2, which is where the promotion’s episodic offerings will be aired on traditional television in English. Of course, ESPN Deportes will broadcast UFC’s episodic series in Spanish.
These programs will be televised most days and/or nights this week, with a rebroadcast of the UFC Main Event episode on Khabib vs. McGregor airing on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
In addition, these programs will also be streamed on ESPN+, along with archival UFC fights, including the UFC 229 main card in its entirety.
Furthermore, ESPN+ will stream UFC cards exclusive to the platform, beginning Saturday, Jan. 19 with UFC on ESPN+, highlighted by a Flyweight title fight between Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw.
Main card and early prelim action will be streamed on ESPN+, with late prelims airing on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET that night. The main card begins at 10 p.m. ET.
ESPN TV will have 10 UFC Fight Night main cards per year over the contract’s five-year life, and ESPN’s properties will have 30 UFC cards annually over the term.
By the way, early prelims of UFC cards streamed on UFC Fight Pass are now exclusive to pay-per-view events.
Aside from all of the UFC events and episodic shows, ESPN+ will now stream episodes of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Season three of the program will broadcast later in the year.
Now then, the question is a simple one: Is an ESPN+ subscription worth it?
Yes! Aside from the UFC material, you also receive Top Rank Boxing events, college sporting events, one free MLB game each day during the baseball season, one free NHL game each day during the hockey season*, MLS Live, and more.
It only costs $5 per month or $50 for a year, with new subscribers obtaining a week’s free trial upon their subscription going live. In under six months after the service’s launch (it launched on Apr. 12 last year,) ESPN+ surpassed the one million subscriber plateau.
All in all, it should be an entertaining and exciting five years for the UFC and ESPN.
*MLB.tv and NHL.tv are available as bundles within ESPN+. Games streamed on the platforms are subject to blackout pending local availability on television.*
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