Midnight Mania! Dana claims new ESPN deal will be ‘amazing’ for fans- but is he right?

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Dana White is insistent that the deal with ESPN to stream Pay-Per-Views (PPVs) solely through ESPN+ is great for the company, the fighters, and most of all, the fans.

People will get nervous about this streaming thing. I hate to break it to you guys, but streaming is where everything is going. So, if you have Netflix, if you have Hulu, if you have any of this stuff at home, that’s basically what ESPN+ is. You get it the same exact way as Netflix and these other streaming services.

White sat down with Megan Olivi and gave his spin on the deal, saying that ESPN is perfectly aligned with their goals. He also said the UFC is now one of the top four sports in the United States. He is correct about one thing: ESPN is promoting fighters in a way Fox never did. The UFC has struggled to promote individual fighters in the past besides a handful of their top tier talent. ESPN is giving those fighters an unprecedented chance to shine.

Whether he is right about streaming and the Pay-Per-Views is an entirely different question. Many fans are still watching cable. To buy a Pay-Per-View, one will need a subscription to ESPN+, raising the barrier to entry for casual fans. People won’t be flipping through their cable on Saturday night and decide to buy the Pay-Per-View; they will need to already be subscribers. Moreover, with many fights still airing on ESPN, one can’t even cut out cable entirely as a hardcore fan, which would be a nice option.

However, as White said, many of the details haven’t been worked out yet. If ESPN+ really is able to put together bundle deals to save on Pay-Per-View costs throughout the year, the deal could still have upside. One interesting wrinkle is that we won’t get independent Pay-Per-View estimates any more; those relied on journalist’s connections to cable provider insiders. Dana White and ESPN will have tighter control over that information, so we may not know about the true impact of this deal for a long time.


Do you think the new PPV deal will be a positive or negative for the UFC in the long run?

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    I’ll be watching no matter where it shows!

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    I won’t be buying PPVs any more

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Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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