ESPN+ gains 568,000 new subscribers for first UFC event

The ESPN+ streaming service gained 568,000 new subscribers on Friday and Saturday combined – and over 525,000 on Saturday alone – directly from the onset of ESPN’s new UFC rights deal.

“Our first UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ was a thrilling evening of action and a great success, with a record-setting night that continued the momentum for ESPN+, delivered strong ratings on ESPN and marks a great start to our new agreement with the UFC,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman, direct-to-consumer and international at Disney, which owns ESPN+.

While it is possible that some customers will leave ESPN+ after a seven-day trial ends, further ratings figures indicate that UFC will prove success on ESPN networks.

The undercard of the Henry Cejudo v TJ Dillashaw fight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on ESPN and Spanish-language ESPN Deportes averaged a 1.4 metered market rating which, according to a press release, makes it “the highest-rated UFC Fight Night Prelims on cable since at least 2013”.

On Saturday, there were also more than 1.8 million unique visitors to MMA-related digital content across ESPN digital platforms.

UFC Brooklyn was the the first card of a $1.5bn (€1.32bn), five-year deal with ESPN.