One of the questions concerning the UFC’s new broadcast rights deal was whether or not we would see a decrease in pay-per-view events. So far, we know that ESPN+ will stream up to 15 fight cards per year starting in 2019, with the television package still not awarded. It is reported that FOX and NBC are both bidding for that piece of the programming pie.
As far as how many cards are up for grabs? This blurb from Bloomberg magazine breaks it all down:
“The UFC is free to negotiate with other partners for the rest of its live rights. Those include 12 pay-per-view events, 12 pay-per-view prelim events (being offered separately in this round of talks) and about 15 other events per year, according to Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein.”
The UFC has run 12-13 pay-per-views each of the last six years, so these numbers suggest that not only will we not see a reduction in PPVs, but a possible minor increase in total number of annual events.
2017 saw the UFC stage 39 shows, plus 41 apiece in 2016 and 2015. The record for a single year is still 46 in 2014, which coincided with the launch of UFC Fight Pass, and multiple instances with two cards in one day.
There is of course still time for the details to change, but it appears as if the large volume of live UFC content isn’t going away.