May 24 (UPI) -- Sports media giant ESPN and the UFC have agreed to a five-year deal, bringing the league's entire rights package to the network, starting in 2019.
ESPN and the UFC announced the deal on Wednesday. The entire rights package will cost about $1.5 billion, according to ESPN.
The UFC rights package includes 30 UFC Fight Night events annually. UFC Fight Night events includes 12 bouts. Those events include 10 main cards on ESPN networks. The additional 20 event will stream on ESPN+.
ESPN will also air preliminary bouts before the 12 pay-per view events in 2019.
"ESPN's unparalleled multimedia platform is the perfect home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties," ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said in a release from the network. "UFC fans are passionate and loyal and we plan to bring the full power of ESPN's live coverage, powerful storytelling and unmatched distribution to serve them in an unprecedented fashion."
"Every year for the last 18 years, we've done something to take the sport to another level, and we did it again with this deal," UFC president Dana White said. "It's massive on so many different levels. We're on what everyone looks at as the world leader in sports."
Fox Sports has served as the UFC's exclusive rights partner since 2011.
"Every year for the last 18 years, we have taken this sport and brand to another level," UFC president Dana White said in a release from the mixed martial arts league.
"We find innovative ways to promote our athletes and build stars. Today is another monumental day for UFC, our athletes, and our fans. We are now part of the ESPN family, recognized around the world as the pinnacle in sports broadcasting. I am very excited for this next chapter for UFC."