PFL signs exclusive, multi-year media rights deal with ESPN

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The Professional Fighter’s League scores big by partnering up with the worldwide leader in broadcast sports.

It seems the UFC isn’t the only MMA promotion that ESPN is interested in.

The Professional Fighter’s League announced today that it has inked an exclusive multi-year media rights deal with ESPN. All ten PFL events scheduled for the 2019 season will broadcast across ESPN+, ESPN 2, and ESPN Deportes. With the championship card being shown New Year’s Eve on ESPN 2. In addition, the deal also includes exclusive content across ESPN platforms. Shows such as “Road to the Playoffs “, “Road to the Championship”, and a 2018 review/2019 roster selection show are confirmed.

“We are thrilled to bring the PFL to ESPN, the undisputed leader in sports.” stated Professional Fighter’s League CEO Peter Murray, “ESPN is a ground-breaking pioneer that has fundamentally changed the way fans consume sports, and we at the PFL are reimagining MMA for fans and fighters.”

New Additions Alongside PFL

In addition to the ESPN deal, the PFL disclosed that it will introduce its SmartCage and Cagenomics systems next season. The organization also introduces the first ever 155 lb. women’s division featuring two-time American Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison.

Harrison made her professional MMA debut at PFL 2 in June of 2018. Since her debut, the Judo-specialist went 3-0 in the organization. With two of her bouts ending by technical knockout and one by submission.

Formerly known as the World Series of Fighting, the organization was rebranded to the Professional Fighter’s League in 2017. The organization held its inaugural season in 2018. PFL made waves by introducing a point based seasonal format with playoffs, and championship bouts that awarded $1 million to the winner in each of its six weight classes. Despite lackluster ratings, the promotion garnered the interest of several venture capitalist firms and celebrities to invest in the brand. Most notably including comedian Kevin Hart and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

With the addition of the PFL, ESPN now has exclusive media rights deals with two of the largest promotions in mixed martial arts. As the Disney owned broadcasting company continues its expansion into combat sports, only time will tell how much of the market it will be able to acquire—and if the investment pays off.

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Patrick is a consultant turned journalist who loves the fight game and everything to do with it. Focusing on the politics, business, and general state of MMA are his mainstays, though he'll dabble in analysis and best bets when he can. He also enjoys football, basketball, baseball, and great jokes in general so feel free to reach out and berate him on social media whenever you disagree with him.

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