I’ve got some bad news for those mixed martial arts (MMA) fans who were hoping the switch from FOX to ESPN would spell the end of six-fight main cards that start at 10 p.m. ET and end the following Tuesday, thanks to 18,642 commercial breaks.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is expected to keep everything intact — including the pacing — when it debuts on “the worldwide leader in sports” in 2019, thanks to a blockbuster deal (see it) that may have inadvertently retired a handful of MMA reporters.
See for yourself:
-ESPN's ten linear events will be treated as premium events like UFC on FOX events are— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) May 30, 2018
-The ESPN+ events will have similar pacing to TV cards as they will be televised internationally
-The pay-per-view model will remain the same with ESPN+ added as an additional distributor (2/3)
-Most main cards will begin at 10:00 pm et as they do now— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) May 30, 2018
-ESPN+ deal gives flexibility for international shows to start in that market's prime time rather than catering to North American prime time
Full interview available on today's TSN MMA Show (3/3)
The UFC on FOX main cards are confined to a two-hour slot (8 p.m. ET - 10 p.m. ET) and feature just four bouts; however, the six-fight FOX Sports 1 main cards (like this one) start at 10 p.m. ET and typically run until well after midnight, depending on how many contests go to a decision.
Sounds like we’re in for more of the same on ESPN, for better or for worse.