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ESPN+ to exclusively host UFC pay-per-view fights in US until 2025

UFC has deepened its partnership with ESPN with a deal which places its pay-per-view events exclusively on OTT streaming service ESPN+ in the United States until 2025.

The ppv deal builds on the five-year pact for OTT rights signed in 2018, and extends that agreement by two years – it will now run from 2019 to 2025. The ppv agreement kicks off with UFC 236 on April 13, featuring a lightweight title fight between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The mixed martial arts series has been integral to the growth of ESPN+, which gained 568,000 new subscribers in January alone, directly from the onset of ESPN’s rights deal with UFC.

Russell Wolff, executive vice-president and general manager of ESPN+, told The Hollywood Reporter: “We’ve had pay-per-view events [before], but the big difference here is these are exclusive pay-per-view events. It adds a significant new business to our platform.”

UFC will continue to sell its ppv events to commercial establishments – like bars and restaurants – and retain the right to sell ppv events internationally.

Preliminary bouts for all UFC ppv events will continue to air nationally on ESPN (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish), which will advertise to fans the opportunity to purchase the main event on ESPN+.

ESPN+ has passed two million subscribers since its launch last year.