In 2019, the UFC made ESPN their exclusive pay-per-view provider, with those PPVs only being offered through subscription service ESPN+ (now $6.99 a month). At that point, those PPVs were at a price of $59.99, in addition to the ESPN+ cost. Early in 2021, that price was raised to $64.99, and it was then later raised to $69.99. And now, it’s been boosted to $74.99:
PPV prices for UFC events on ESPN+ will be $74.99 this year.
— Mark La Monica (@LaMonicaMark) January 6, 2022
From $59.99 back in 2019, that's a 25% increase over 3 years. Almost triple the inflation rate during that time, which is about 9%. https://t.co/rJuoBuSvAC
— John S. Nash (@heynottheface) January 6, 2022
Here’s more on that from Steven Marrocco of MMA Fighting:
The change, which marks the third price hike since the UFC struck a broadcast deal with ESPN, was announced on Thursday by Neo Media World, a marketing agency affiliated with the network. Not affected by the increase is the monthly subscription fee for ESPN+, which currently stands at $6.99, and the yearly membership of $69.99.
…The increases come after a record-breaking period of company profits for Endeavor, the UFC’s parent company. The talent and entertainment conglomerate credited the MMA promotion as a major revenue driver at a time when other properties were still emerging from pandemic-induced losses.
In the third quarter of 2021, Endeavor, which this past April went public, announced $1.4 billion in revenue with a net income of $63.6 million. One year earlier, the company lost $21.8 million. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel called the third-quarter earnings the “best nine-month, year-to-date period in UFC history.”
There are some bundling options that make this a bit lower, including the option to pay $99.98 for a year of ESPN+ as well as the first UFC PPV here (Jan. 22’s UFC 270, headlined by the heavyweight fight between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane). But even that is up $10 from its previous cost. And it’s worth mentioning that some previous UFC PPVs on ESPN+ have come with notable technical issues, especially with UFC 257 last January. Beyond that, this is another notable UFC PPV price increase, and we’ll see how many fans are willing to pay for it.
[MMA Fighting; image via ESPN]