ESPN+ has seen a steady increase in subscribers recently, although a decline in UFC pay-per-view purchases along with higher sports programming costs has slowed revenue growth for the subscription service.
These recent developments were revealed as part of the second-quarter earnings report from The Walt Disney Company recently.
ESPN+, the monthly subscription service that offers numerous sports including live UFC programming, saw a 62 per cent increase in subscribers year-over-year. This jump represented going from 13.8 million subscribers to 22.3 over the past 12 months.
While ESPN+ saw an increase in overall subscribers, the “Average Monthly Revenue Per Paid Subscriber” only went up 4 per cent. This increase accounted for the average customer generating just an extra 18 cents per month.
The recent report noted that the company has observed a decrease in UFC PPV buys and attributed this decline as part of why revenue growth from ESPN+ wasn’t higher.
“Lower results at ESPN+ were due to higher sports programming costs and a decrease in income from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view events, partially offset by an increase in subscription revenue due to subscriber growth,” the report said. “Lower UFC pay-per-view income was due to a decrease in average buys per event.”
The majority of UFC “Fight Night” events have aired exclusively on ESPN+ since the promotion started a deal with the distributor in 2019. The service has been the exclusive home for purchasing UFC PPV events, and also airs original content like “Dana White’s Contender Series” and “The Ultimate Fighter.”