FOX Sports issues statement on UFC's departure for ESPN in 2019

ESPN Adds Fights to UFC TV Rights Deal, Reaching $1.5 Billion Value (EXCLUSIVE)

The UFC will be heading to ESPN come 2019.

UFC flyweight DeAnna Bennett, left, gives her opponent Melinda Fabian, right, a Christmas gift as UFC president Dana White looks on at the TUF 26 Finale ceremonial weigh-ins at the Monte Carlo hotel-casino's Park Theater in Las Vegas, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017.

The UFC's next event with FOX takes place Sunday with UFC Fight Night 130.

UFC Fight Night events consist of 12 bouts.

ESPN announced it will bring a variety of UFC content to its networks, including content from the organization's library, reairs of pay-per-views and a 30-minute special breaking down each pay-per-view event. The fight promotion will remain with Fox Sports through 2018 before bringing the relationship to an end after roughly seven years.

This new agreement, which was announced on Wednesday, follows a deal announced earlier this month between ESPN and the UFC.

This deal also comes at a crucial time for ESPN after the sports juggernaut had been hemorrhaging subscribers at an alarming rate over the past few years.

In addition to the live events and content included in the ESPN+ subscription, fight fans will be able to purchase and watch UFC FIGHT PASS (UFC's DTC streaming offering) and UFC PPV events via ESPN+ and within the ESPN app, for a separate cost. We find innovative ways to promote our athletes and build stars. TUF 28 will air on Fox Sports 1 in August. With name-brand stars such as Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor and Brock Lesnar stepping away from the octagon, ratings for UFC events on the main Fox network dropped almost 22 percent in 2017 to a bit more than 2 million viewers on average, while cards on the Fox Sports 1 cable network drew an average of almost 800,000 viewers, down 18 percent. "As Fox Sports was planning the launch of FS1, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta were the first partners to believe in the idea and vision of the new network".

A report from ESPN released today revealed that the media giant has paid $1.58 billion for the UFC's "entire rights package". UFC will maintain control of its pay-per-view cards and continue to limit them to 12 per year.

Can the UFC be ESPN's savior?



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