Dana White Reveals All On The UFC’s Future With ESPN
Dana White expects the UFC’s future with ESPN over its broadcasting deal to be sorted soon.
The UFC’s current deal with ESPN is for seven years, which includes PPVs, runs out in 2025. The increasing number of platforms on offer has opened up more opportunities for the UFC to explore its future elsewhere.
Streaming platforms are rising, with DAZN and Matchroom Boxing working together. PBC’s new deal with Amazon Prime Video is also a testament to that. The UFC-ESPN deal is reportedly worth $1.5 billion, but there is an expectation that this will increase if the rights are available to purchase.
White On The UFC
“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
White expects talks to begin in the next three-four months, which TKO Group Holdings Inc will handle.
“Our deal is coming up. I believe that talks will begin with ESPN within the next three to four months,” White stated
The UFC has had its home on FOX and now ESPN. This shows that it is willing to secure the best deals for its brand. The primary advantage that the UFC holds over other sports is that it does not have to contend with off-season breaks. The sport runs throughout the year. Unlike boxing, which has several competitive promoters, the UFC is far beyond their rivals. Take for example, the PFL. The UFC outperforms it in ratings and live gates.
The sport has also managed to increase its appeal across all age groups. Die-hard boxing fans who grew up with the sport have found a new home in the UFC, which puts on the biggest fights, which boxing has been accused of not doing.
It has also produced crossover stars such as Francis Ngannou and Conor McGregor, who have boxed, showing they can market their fighters to a bigger audience. That has also extended to female athletes, with Ronda Rousey making a name for herself in WWE since leaving the UFC.
Technological advancements have also made the sport appealing and attractive. Virtual reality and personal storytelling have forged a deeper connection with the fanbase and their fighters. All of that has aided the sport, with one Wall Street analyst expecting the UFC’s new broadcasting deal to be worth at least double.
“A UFC TV deal could be announced by year-end with new contract terms upwards of two times the current value,” Eric Handler said
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