Mixed Martial Arts promotion the Professional Fighters League (PFL) has announced a new multi-year media rights deal with ESPN.
The deal will include ESPN live broadcasts of the PFL regular season, playoffs and world championships on linear networks ESPN+.
In addition, the new PFL PPV Super Fight Division in the US will be distributed on ESPN+ PPV once it launches in 2024.
“We’ve had five successful seasons on ESPN and we’re excited for the next phase of growth for MMA and the Professional Fighters League with this agreement,” said PFL CEO, Peter Murray.
“Our innovative sport-season format, elite roster of athletes, and the launch of the PFL PPV Super Fight Division, which will feature some of the world’s greatest combat sports stars such as Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul, are ushering in the new era of MMA as a mainstream global sports entertainment platform.”
The new media rights deal with ESPN sees the PFL riding a wave of momentum currently, having recently acquired fellow MMA promotion Bellator, as well as a fresh $100m investment from the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
Under PFL’s plans, Bellator will become the fifth of its live franchises, alongside the existing PFL League Season, PFL PPV Super Fights, PFL Challenger Series and PFL International Leagues.
It is still unclear if Bellator coverage will be included in the ESPN deal, and whether Bellator fighters will be integrated into the PFL roster later.
PFL fighters will be broadcasted and featured prominently on ESPN platforms, including pre-and-post coverage and shoulder programming on linear and digital channels.
The new PFL PPV Super Fight Division will be a global platform for MMA fighters and combat sports stars, such as Francis Ngannou, who is under an exclusive MMA contract to fight in the division and is joined by Jake Paul and women’s combat stars Claressa Shields, Amanda Serrano and Savannah Marshall.
The first PFL PPV Super Fight will be announced in “early 2024” with fighters and a location to be announced at a later date.