It has been two years since ESPN struck a major deal with UFC, and in that time there have been some positives in the partnership. Unfortunately for fans, there's going to be something to gripe about soon in regards to the service in the coming year, as a price hike was announced for pay-per-views in 2020. While paying more money is rarely considered a good thing, it's worth noting that, in this instance, things aren't as bad as they seem.
Yes, prices will be going up for UFC pay-per-views, but this won't be a drastic increase. In fact, an ESPN rep told Variety the price hike will only be a return to the original price before ESPN+ became the official home of these events. In short, this means 2019's price of $59.99 for an event will climb to $64.99, starting Saturday, January 18 with UFC 246.
The prices of pay-per-views will rise in 2020, but a rise in cost won't be seen elsewhere. ESPN+ will, for now, still run at its standard rate of $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. With that being said, the pay-per-view pay bump will change the one-year offer that bundles UFC 246 from $79.98 to $84.98. Sorry to anyone who thought they could get grandfathered in before the start of the new year, because ESPN thought ahead.
The UFC and ESPN deal is set to run through 2025, and there's no word at this time if another price hike will come down the stretch. Again, though, this only extends to the pay-per-views, and UFC fans will still be able to watch Fight Nights and countless hours of other UFC programming in the meantime. Plus, ESPN+ carries a lot of other sporting events, just in case UFC isn't the only sport subscribers are interested in.
For those that aren't interested in the ESPN+ app for UFC, there are still other commercial options to watch the fight. The UFC is still allowed to sell broadcast rights to sports bars and restaurants, so those who think the price jump is too steep can always go there to enjoy fights going forward. If there's anyone who wishes to view at home, though, ESPN+ is the only legal option here in the U.S. Well, people could also get a ticket to that upcoming UFC movie, but something tells me most people won't see that as an acceptable substitute for the real thing.
As mentioned, the next major UFC pay-per-view is set for Saturday, January 18, and will feature Donald Cerrone and the sport's most polarizing figure, Conor McGregor. CinemaBlend is the place to be for updates happening in the world of television and movies in 2020 and beyond.