The UFC is nearing a new television broadcast deal, seven years after it made history by partnering up with Fox to bring MMA into the mainstream. A lot has changed since 2011, and we’ve seen the number of events skyrocket while the quality of events plummeted. Superstars like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor elevated the UFC for a time, but now the “Super Bowl of MMA” seems to be taking it’s guaranteed ratings and possibly spreading them out in a joint TV deal between ESPN and Fox Sports. Sadly, it seems like it’s only going to divide the fanbase further and hit their wallets.
It’s already well-known that being an MMA fan has been historically tough. The old days were filled with tape trading, light-night Japanese events, and PPV bans, but now it’s a matter of being nickel and dimed to death, like a series of pitter-patter punches from Nick Diaz. In this potential joint TV deal between ESPN and Fox Sports, it’s been reported that up to 15 events will take place on ESPN+, ESPN’s fledgling streaming service. Fox Sports will still get its share of events, and we all know the UFC will still be in the PPV business. That means it’s going to be expensive for fans. Let’s break that down.
- 12 PPVs at $60 per = $720
- 12 months of ESPN+ = $60
- A cable package that actually gets you Fox Sports 1 (rather than cutting your cords outright) which should cost roughly $20-30 per month when combined with a decent internet package = $360 per year
- 12 months of Fight Pass = $120
- Total cost per year, before taxes, to be a passionate UFC fan: $1260
Meanwhile, MLB offers a league-wide streaming service (that doesn’t allow you to watch blacked-out games or nationally televised games live) for $112.99 per season. In addition to the regular season, there are spring training games to add to the value.