Report | ESPN, Fox teaming up in bid for UFC broadcasting rights

UFC Octagon

The end of the UFC’s current broadcasting deal with Fox is rapidly approaching. As the end of this partnership draws closer, the promotion is scrambling to hash out a new arrangement with respect to its broadcast rights.

According to a report from Variety this week, ESPN and Fox are in talks to share the UFC broadcasting rights.

Here are the pertinent details, per the Variety report:

Variety has learned that the two companies have recently proposed to split the UFC TV package in a move that would bring as many as 15 fight events to new subscription streaming service ESPN+.

According to sources with knowledge of the proposal, ESPN has signaled that it would be willing to pay $120-180 million per year to add the Endeavor-owned mixed martial arts league to its collection of live-event rights.

Fox, which currently pays $120 million per year UFC rights, would be willing see that number increase to a little more than $200 million. Fox’s current package includes four Saturday-night fights per year on Fox Broadcasting and a number of fight events on cabler Fox Sports 1 that has increased annually under its current agreement. A joint bid with ESPN would see Fox’s total number of events decline slightly.

As of now, neither FOX nor ESPN has commented on the deal. Even when pressed about the rumored deal at the Sports Business Journal World Conference of Sports, Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks refused to comment.

“We love the UFC, but we aren’t going to comment on the rumors today,” Shanks said, per Joe Favorito on Twitter.

Rather unsurprisingly, Variety’s report seems to have created more questions than it answered. Many members of the MMA community have piped up on Twitter, wondering what this could mean for the way we consume the UFC in the future.

Stay tuned for more updates on this situation as they emerge.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/18/2018.