What an amazing way to start the year; ESPN+ will definitely have no regrets over its $1.5 billion investment in UFC
The Disney-owned sports streaming service is beginning to prove a lot positive, and of course, there is no room for regret over the acquisition of the sports channel. The Disney’ standalone premium subscription service for sports fans now has over 2 million subscribers. Thanks to the UFC fight night that added a significant number to what has been already. Disney CEO, Bob Iger announced the latest growth stat during his company’s quarterly earnings call yesterday afternoon.
Right now, there doesn’t seem to be much that can stop entertainment juggernaut built by Disney, especially now that the company is getting into “combat sports content.” After inking a five-year, $1.5 billion blockbuster deal with the UFC last May, Disney, and its streaming subsidiary ESPN+ have already begun reaping the rewards, according to company reps during the quarterly earnings call on Tuesday.
ESPN+ was launched back in April for $4.99 per month or $49.99 for an annual membership. The service, which is powered by Disney’s BAMTech division, offers “hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, cricket, the full library of ESPN Films including 30 for 30, and more.” It also touts original content like Detail with Peyton Manning and LeBron James’ More Than An Athlete. In its first five months, the service gained over 1 million subscribers, until now that the number now total beyond 2 million. ESPN+ now has its own dedicated tab within the main ESPN mobile app.
The significant increment was added last month, when ESPN+ streamed its debut episode of UFC Fight Night from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, officially kicking off a multi-year partnership that the MMA organization and Disney / ESPN announced last May. While it the company had to spend so much to gain access to stream the event; it cost the company nothing less than $1.5 billion, however, the investment proved really positive, as there was a significant increment in the number of subscribers on the platform: the service added 568,000 new subscribers on the Friday and Saturday leading into the card. The next UFC Fight Night is scheduled for February 23rd. You can imagine how many more subscribers to expect, and while that’s just a tip of an iceberg, the platform will be streaming over 1,425 live events in just this month of February. Furthermore, Disney’s UFC agreement will see a total of 30 fights broadcast per year, and that a whole lot of profit I’m seeing.