The UFC’s debut live event on ESPN+ over the weekend saw a record-breaking 568,000 new subscribers sign up to the Disney owned sports subscription streaming service.
525,000 subscribers signed up on Saturday to witness Henry Cejudo’s first-round knockout of TJ Dillashaw at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
In contrast to the influx of new subscribers, it took the streaming service 5 months to surpass one million paying subscribers since launching in April last year.
In addition, ESPN noted more than 1.8 million unique visitors to its MMA-related content across all digital platforms on the day of the event, which was its most-trafficked Saturday for MMA content ever.
ESPN president, Jimmy Pitaro said: “All day, and across all ESPN platforms, we collectively demonstrated the promise of what we can do to fulfil our mission of serving a wider array of sports fans.”
Saturday’s fight card was the first event as part of ESPN’s new five-year, US$1.5 billion rights deal with the UFC, which includes an agreement to show 20 bouts exclusively on ESPN+ each year.
“Our first UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ was a thrilling evening of action and a great success, with a record-setting night that continued the momentum for ESPN+, delivered strong ratings on ESPN and marks a great start to our new agreement with the UFC,” added Kevin Mayer, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at The Walt Disney Company.