ESPN Pays $1.5 Billion for UFC Rights After Fox Turns Its Attention to WWE

May 23, 2018 - WWE

Pugilism, both genuine and scripted, is a new money crop, as both UFC and WWE have sealed five-year deals that will supplement $1 billion or some-more to their coffers.

ESPN has reportedly struck a second understanding with UFC that will outcome in it airing and streaming 30 fights per year starting in 2019. The delegate contract, when combined to a rights understanding sealed in April, is worth $1.5 billion.

ESPN picks adult a UFC rights as Fox turns a attentions to WWE instead. The network reportedly reached a understanding with a wrestling behemoth to pierce a “SmackDown” module over to Fox starting in Dec. 2019 for $1 billion. (WWE’s stream flagship “Raw” is approaching to continue airing on USA Network.)

For WWE, during least, a agreement is a outrageous annulment from a final radio contract, that was so feeble perceived a company’s batch fell 43% on news of a signing.

Both UFC and WWE have something that’s increasingly singular to offer these days: Live programming. The immediacy of that draws viewers in genuine time, something that’s increasingly singular as DVR and On-Demand options make appointment TV nonessential and other electronic inclination confuse viewers.

SmackDown Live has averaged 2.59 million viewers per week in 2018. UFC, that won a bigger payday, averaged about 2 million viewers per fight final year, though ratings have been slipping.

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