As part of the deal, ESPN will livestream the PFL regular season, playoffs, and world championships on ESPN+, among other linear networks. Along with this, ESPN+ PPV will also carry the new PFL PPV Super Fight Division when it debuts in the US in 2024.
PFL CEO, Peter Murray, said, “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. 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.”
With this media rights deal, PFL is currently experiencing growth and success. It is also evidenced by PFL’s recent acquisition of Bellator, another MMA promotion, and a new $100 million investment from the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
Bellator will join the current PFL League Season, PFL PPV Super Fights, PFL Challenger Series, and PFL International Leagues as an additional fifth live franchise under the PFL’s arrangements.
It remains unclear whether the ESPN agreement will cover Bellator competition and whether Bellator fighters will eventually be added to the PFL roster.
ESPN sites will broadcast and emphasise PFL fighters, which includes pre-and post-fight coverage as well as shoulder programming on both linear and digital channels.
MMA competitors and combat sports celebrities, like Francis Ngannou, who has an exclusive contract with MMA to compete in the division, along with Jake Paul and women’s combat stars Claressa Shields, Amanda Serrano, and Savannah Marshall, will have a global platform in the new PFL PPV Super Fight Division.
The first PFL PPV Super Fight is scheduled for early 2024, with fighters and venue details to be revealed later.