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Ari Emanuel discusses possible partners for next UFC broadcast rights deal: “There’s a lot of buyers out there”

Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel is already taking a look at what’s next for the UFC.

The promotion is currently contracted with ESPN until 2025, having made the jump from Fox Sports years ago. The current deal is worth over $300 million dollars a year and allows the channel to have exclusive rights to all pay-per-view events.

The deal works well for both sides, but that doesn’t mean Ari Emanuel isn’t keeping an eye elsewhere. During a recent appearance at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom conference, the CEO of Endeavor, which owns the UFC, discussed the upcoming broadcasting rights situation.

There, he stated that they’re on great terms with ESPN. However, Emanuel also noted that other factors could come into play that could have them look elsewhere. As far as that is concerned, the CEO isn’t worried about finding a home, as there are multiple potential partners.

The UFC’s broadcasting deal with ESPN ends at a good time for the company. Currently, streaming services are going all-in on sports, with Amazon and Apple Plus recently securing broadcasting rights with the NFL, and the MLS, respectively.

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“We have a great relationship with ESPN, love our relationship with them, and we have a year left until we can start our renewal,” Emanuel stated. “I think it’s going to be a positive outcome for both parties but there’s a lot of buyers out there… If you just look at sports rights, Formula 1 in the United States when I think from $5 million to $95 million [per year]. Hockey, I think was [$240 million per season], you saw what the NFL did.” (h/t MMA Fighting)

He continued, “…You have six buyers in the marketplace. When we made our first UFC deal, there was one buyer and the buyer was Bob Iger actually. He’s the one that actually brought it over. I think we’ve done an amazing job for the growth of ESPN+ and ESPN and we have The Contender Series. Now they just ordered The Ultimate Fighter that Conor McGregor is on. So all in all, it’s one of the fastest growing sports out there, that’s demographic, social and male/female and age category.”

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