The price of purchasing a UFC pay-per-view card is about to get more costly for fans in 2021 as Disney and ESPN are raising their PPV prices.
According to a report from Variety, Disney and ESPN plan on increasing the price of a UFC PPV from their current price of $64.99 (U.S. dollars) to $69.99 in 2021, starting with UFC 257: McGregor vs. Poirier 2. This follows on the heels of a price increase in 2018 when the price of a PPV went up from $59.99 to $64.99. Additionally, the cost of subscribing to a year of ESPN+ is set to rise from $49.99 to $59.99 in 2021. In the United States, fans must order the PPV cards through ESPN+, making it a necessity.
The cost of being a fan of MMA in comparison to other sports is of course higher because most of the mainstream sports aren’t regularly on pay-per-view. The UFC’s model, meanwhile, is to hold between three and four events a month, with one and sometimes two of those fights on ESPN+ PPV, and the rest on ESPN or ESPN+. According to UFC president Dana White, 2020 was a really big year for the UFC as far as their numbers go, so it will be interesting to see how this price increase factors in. That the first event with a price increase stars McGregor is not a coincidence, either.
Fans likely won’t be too thrilled with the price increase given White’s comments about how the UFC has done so well this year. Ultimately, the UFC is part of a bigger umbrella that includes Disney and ESPN, and the heads of those companies felt that a price increase for PPVs in 2021 was justified based on their metrics. For MMA and UFC fans who were already paying $64.99 at least once a month, to up that number to $69.99 likely won’t be too well received by fans, many of whom have had their own personal financial struggles given the reality of the COVID-19 world in 2020.
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