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UFC, PFL exposure grows as ESPN+, Disney+, Hulu to be offered in $12.99 bundle

Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Robert Iger announced in a press release that beginning November 12 they will be launching their Disney+ streaming service. The subscription was initially announced to be priced individually at $6.99 monthly, well below the cheapest Netflix package at $12.99. Now it’s been revealed that the new family friendly service can also be bundled with two additional services in Hulu and ESPN+ for the same price of $12.99.

On an August 6 investor’s conference call Iger provided some insight on how they intend to compete with Netflix’s value directly by providing more depth and variety. The plan is “to have general entertainment, we’ll call it Hulu, more family-like entertainment, which is Disney+, and sports. And that bundle that we’re creating, that $12.99 bundle, where you can buy all three offers consumers tremendous volume, tremendous quality and tremendous variety for a good price.”

Disney remains thoroughly competitive by offering subscription rates as low as $5.99 on their individual streaming services, but Iger states that they have an “excellent opportunity to leverage the capabilities of our television studios and brands” and package them together in a way that surpasses Netflix’s scope with the inclusion of comprehensive live sports content in ESPN+.

The ability to provide live and on demand sports broadcasts and replays as well as original analysis content could see Disney potentially pull away from the pack in DTC (Direct to Consumer) services. In fact it could alter the expectations of streaming packages overall with a consumer base that has ‘cut the cord’ only to now be faced with an increasingly over saturated streaming market. When consumers are eventually forced to budget which services they subscribe to, the Disney+ bundle thus far provides the most value across the most demographics.

Despite some MMA fans expressing concern we could see price increases on individual ESPN+ subscriptions, it seems so far there is no intention to alter the pricing structure. If the intent of the bundle deal is to undermine the value of Netflix overall, it would seem reasonable to expect the individual service rates to remain hovering at about half the price of the bundle.

Going forward this is just another feather in Dana White’s cap as it puts the UFC inside even more homes and further synonymizes the brand with that of Disney. It furthers White’s campaign to place the UFC where he perceives it to belong, amongst the exclusive, culturally iconic institutions of the world.

Only time will tell how it truly stands to benefit the fighters, the fans and the culture of the sport. But while watching all of Mr. White’s well laid plans play out before us we can at least understand without question that MMA has never had a better fighting chance to be accepted by popular culture.


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