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May 13, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Details on the UFC/ESPN deal, more

The first of what is expected to be two major media deals for UFC television/streaming rights in the U.S. market was announced on 5/8 with UFC and ESPN agreeing to a five-year deal worth $150 million per year.

The deal will be largely for streaming rights to 15 shows, although there are other things involved in the deal. The amazing thing about the price is that ESPN is paying that kind of money, essentially $10 million per live event, and not even putting the shows on television, and instead using it as a major loss-leader to drive ESPN+, the company’s new streaming service.

The deal is a landmark one for sports because it shows how much a media property is willing to pay for what is essentially a second-tier major sport for streaming rights that on paper make no economic sense, because of the feeling of needing to build and establish a streaming platform for the long haul.

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