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Midnight Mania! Dana claims new ESPN deal will be ‘amazing’ for fans, but is he right?

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UFC Fight Night Cejudo v Dillashaw: Press Conference Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

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Dana White is insistent that the deal with ESPN to stream pay-per-views (PPV) events solely through ESPN+ is great for the company, the fighters, and most of all, the fans.

“People will get nervous about this streaming thing. I hate to break it to you guys, but streaming is where everything is going. So, if you have Netflix, if you have Hulu, if you have any of this stuff at home, that’s basically what ESPN+ is. You get it the same exact way as Netflix and these other streaming services.”

White sat down with Megan Olivi and gave his spin on the deal, saying that ESPN is perfectly aligned with their goals. He also said UFC is now one of the top four sports in the United States. He is correct about one thing: ESPN is promoting fighters in a way FOX never did. UFC has struggled to promote individual fighters in the past besides a handful of its top-tier talent. ESPN is giving those fighters an unprecedented chance to shine.

Whether he is right about streaming and the PPV events is an entirely different question. Many fans are still watching cable. To buy a PPV, one will need a subscription to ESPN+ (free trail here), raising the barrier to entry for casual fans. People won’t be flipping through their cable on Saturday night and decide to buy a PPV — they will need to already be subscribers. Moreover, with many fights still airing on ESPN, one can’t even cut out cable entirely as a hardcore fan, which would be a nice option.

However, as White said, many of the details haven’t been worked out yet. If ESPN+ really is able to put together bundle deals to save on PPV costs throughout the year, the deal could still have upside. One interesting wrinkle is that we won’t get independent PPV estimates any more; those relied-on connections journalists have with cable provider insiders. White and ESPN will have tighter control over that information, so we may not know about the true impact of this deal for a long time.


Do you think the new PPV deal will be a positive or negative for the UFC in the long run?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    (172 votes)
  • 40%
    (344 votes)
  • 12%
    I’ll be watching no matter where it shows!
    (111 votes)
  • 26%
    I won’t be buying PPVs any more
    (229 votes)
856 votes total Vote Now


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Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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