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The UFC just raised the price of its’ ESPN+ pay-per-views to a staggering $79.95 per event. That’s in addition to paying the ESPN+ monthly price of $9.99.
That means it’ll cost you almost NINETY BUCKS to watch a UFC PPV.
In this economy?
The move comes just one year after ESPN+ previously raised the cost to watch a UFC PPV to $74.95. Many fans thought that would be the end of any price increases for a while. They were wrong.
Two years ago UFC PPV’s were $59.95.
This is not the ideal direction to go as people are starting to cut back and save money anywhere and everywhere they can.
In a statement, ESPN said that the price increase is due to “the value of ESPN+ and the popularity and quality of UFC events,” according to Sports Business Journal.
IS IT ESPN OR THE UFC’S FAULT?
Previously, UFC President Dana White has said that the fight promotion has no say in the rising PPV costs.
When speaking with reporters regarding last year’s initial price hike, White said, “We don’t have any say in that.” While adding, “We gave the pay-per-views to ESPN, so yeah, that’s their decision. You know how I feel about that stuff. I don’t love when prices get raised, but it’s not my decision. It’s theirs.”
However we may be getting to the point where UFC fight fans may not care whose to blame anymore – they just want a solution. And if not, they may just leave altogether.
Unfortunately with the direction that the media landscape appears to be heading, including lower ad revenue and rising streaming costs across the board, ESPN and the UFC may soon have a problem on their hands.
Coming off a lackluster year of UFC PPVs that really didn’t generate any MASSIVE buzz (in fact many fans were wondering why some of the subpar fight cards were even on PPVs to begin with) fans may just say the hell with this.
In 2022, the UFC saw many lackluster PPV buy numbers. We will see if an increase in price continues this trend next year.
Dana White can’t continue to just shrug off the rising costs to fans anymore.
PEOPLE ARE LOOKING TO CUT EVERYWHERE THEY CAN
We are in uncertain economic times and without getting too into it, 2023’s outlook doesn’t look too promising either for the average person.
Both ESPN+ and the UFC are at risk of losing even more of their fans – especially the diehard ones that had been paying every month to watch the PPVs. Rising costs are only going to hurt that more.
Someone might want to remind both companies that when dealing with PPVS, the option of illegally streaming is always there. (I think I’m supposed to legally say I don’t condone illegal streaming, but I’m also a realist and know that many people watch the events that way.)
Meanwhile ESPN+ should be cautious with their price increases as well. The consumer is becoming pickier with which streaming service they are going to pay for. More people are realizing that they don’t need 15 streaming services – some that are also increasing their costs.
The fact that one has to pay an additional $80 for a possible headlining fight that may be all grappling and go the distance after five rounds? How is that going to be a consistent revenue driver to bring in the casual UFC fan anymore?
I’m not saying the ESPN+ / UFC should raise their DEFCON level just yet. But they are facing a multitude of potential problems – including the lack of star power.
Conor McGregor is all but missing from the octagon. Khabib Nurmagomedov retired at the height of his career because he defeated literally everyone. Jon Jones isn’t getting any younger and who knows when the hell he’d even come back.
The UFC is banking on up-and-comers like Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett and Khamzat Chimaev to be their next rising stars.
But will anyone even be able to see them when they do?