Disney, ESPN Strike UFC TV and Streaming Deal

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This first-ever rights and distribution agreement between the two companies provides for 15 live UFC events to stream exclusively on ESPN+ - the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company's Direct-to-Consumer and worldwide segment, in partnership with ESPN.

Meanwhile, the UFC is free to negotiate with other partners for the rest of its live rights.

UFC has had a broadcast agreement with Fox that started in 2011 and expires at the end of this year.

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Regarding the deal, streaming 15 live events on ESPN+ isn't all-the company plans on putting that content on "a variety of ESPN's television, social and digital platforms" in English and Spanish, as well.

ESPN+ will also offer events streamed on UFC Fight Pass and UFC pay-per-view cards on the service for an additional cost.

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Instead, the UFC cut off a piece for ESPN's new, $5-a-month digital streaming service.

The addition of the live UFC content is a huge boon to the upstart streaming service, says Walt Disney Company spokesperson Kevin Mayer, via Forbes. Terms were not disclosed, but sources pegged the deal at $150 million a year for five years - which is in the same range as the UFC's annual take from its current broadcast deal at Fox. "We look forward to providing UFC's enthusiastic, growing fan base with a wide array of live events and building a lasting relationship with the industry leader in mixed martial arts", Kevin Mayer, chairman of direct to consumer and worldwide at Disney, said in his own statement. We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it. In an announcement, they explain they're teaming up with the Walt Disney Company and ESPN.

Fans also get access to exclusive pre- and post-event shows for all of the 15 events, as well all new seasons of Dana White's Contender Series. Last month, Variety reported that ESPN perhaps was going to pair with Fox in divvying up UFC's non-pay-per-view package.

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