Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Professional Fighters League Inks Multi-Year Broadcast Deal with ESPN

Professional Fighters League (PFL) has a new broadcast home after inking a multi-year deal with ESPN.

The terms of the deal were announced on Monday with the PFL moving all of their events to the ESPN family of networks including ESPN2 and ESPN+. In addition to the deal with ESPN in the United States, PFL also struck a similar broadcast rights deal with TSN for their cards to air in Canada.

The PFL cards will air on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.

The broadcast deal will officially kick off on Thursday nights in May with regular season events running through August. Three playoff cards will then air in October with the season finals being held on New Year’s Eve with the event airing exclusively on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

The PFL format features a ‘regular season’ where fights take place across several weight classes with fighters earning points for wins and method of victory. Following a pair of opening round matchups, the fighters are then ranked into the ‘playoff’ format where they compete in a single elimination tournament all culminating in the finals.

The winners of last season’s PFL tournaments each received a $1 million grand prize.

“We are pleased to add the PFL to our combat sports roster,” ESPN executive vice president of programming Burke Magnus said in a statement. “This unique and innovative competition structure provides MMA fans with a great option to see some of the best fights and content in the sport. ESPN is the home of combat sports, and we look forward to delivering thrilling live PFL events and powerful storytelling to fans, across all platforms.”

PFL had previously been under a broadcast rights deal with NBC that went year over year with the majority of the promotion’s cards airing on NBC Sports Network.

Now the PFL joins the UFC on the ESPN format with cards also airing on ESPN+.

“We are thrilled to bring the PFL to ESPN, the undisputed leader in sports,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a statement. “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.”

The first PFL event on ESPN’s family of networks will be May 9.

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