• Loading stock data...
Thursday, February 29, 2024

PFL, ESPN Agree on New Multiyear Broadcast Rights Deal

  • ESPN+ PPV will be the home of the PFL’s new Super Fight Division featuring Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul.
  • PFL acquired Bellator last week, expanding its roster of fighters.

Less than two weeks after acquiring Bellator, the Professional Fighters League announced a multiyear extension of its multimedia rights deal with ESPN on Thursday. 

The new agreement comes days after the PFL World Championship, where six fighters won $1 million, a card split between ESPN+ and ESPN+ PPV. According to the announcement, the new rights package includes distribution on ESPN’s linear channels and ESPN+. 

ESPN+ PPV will be home to the PFL’s Super Fight Division, which launches next year, and will likely feature former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul. 

“We have had four successful seasons with ESPN with major audience growth — 30% year over year — and we will continue to grow,” PFL CEO Peter Murray told Front Office Sports. “ESPN, is a top-tier sports platform, both linear and obviously streaming. It really just illustrates that MMA is now mainstream. It’s a growth sport.”

Financial terms of the deal, the PFL’s third with ESPN, were not disclosed. 

The Super Fight Division joins PFL’s existing fight series: the PFL League Season, PFL Challenger Series and the PFL International Leagues. Murray said the plan is to have two “tentpole” events split between the first and second half of 2024. 

Bellator International Champions Series, however, is not part of the ESPN deal. 

“Bellator will be distributed globally,” Murray said. “We’ll be sharing those details in the coming weeks.”

The PFL touted that after its Bellator purchase that it has 30% of its top fighters per Fight Matrix world rankings.Yahoo Sports noted this week that that percentage isn’t as high on other world rankings from ESPN, MMA Junkie and Sherdog. 

PFL executives remain bullish on its continued expansion efforts as it seeks to challenge UFC, the dominant MMA promotion in the U.S. and worldwide. 

UFC is also broadcast and streamed by ESPN, a seven-year deal worth about $300 million annually that runs through 2025.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Caitlin Clark

Iowa Star Caitlin Clark Makes It Official: She’s WNBA-Bound

Iowa star Caitlin Clark announced she is declaring for the WNBA draft.

Electronic Arts’ Layoffs Signal Ongoing Evolution, Struggles

The company is set to make a second major round of staff cuts in the last year.
Howard University

Howard’s Figure Skating Team Part of Olympic Sport Growth at HBCUs

Olympic sports at HBCUs are growing, with gymnastics and swimming gaining momentum.

RFK Stadium Bill Advances to Senate After Lopsided House Vote

The bill’s passage in the House, with a vote margin of 348–55, indicates strong bipartisan consensus and support for D.C.’s plans.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

MLB’s Media Mess


Featured Today

Oct 5, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, points to the lettering outside of the museum Tuesday.

How Do You Keep Negro Leagues Baseball History Alive? Put It in a Video Game

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum attracting increased donations, visits from ‘MLB The Show.’
February 26, 2024

The Victor Wembanyama Rookie Card Market Hasn’t Matched His Hype

A cooling market and Fanatics autograph deal leaves big-money collectors waiting.
February 25, 2024

Sham Gods: The Rapidly Growing World of Sports Impersonators on X

Fake Schefters and Wojs, fabricated trade demands, and borrowed profile pictures.
Sep 24, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; A general view of the Oakland Athletics dugout after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
February 24, 2024

Murky Future: Everything You Need to Know About the A’s Move to Las Vegas

Breaking down one of the most drawn-out, multifaceted sagas in sports.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Sports Illustrated

Is the Owner of 5-Hour Energy Drink Turning ‘SI’ Into a Five-Hour Energy Promotional Arm?

A new story has elevated employees’ concerns about the outlet’s editorial autonomy.
Pat McAfee
February 28, 2024

‘I Don’t Got a Motherf***ing Boss’: Pat McAfee Goes Off

The ESPN radio host and commentator unloaded on ESPN exec Norby Williamson.
The Match
February 29, 2024

‘The Match’ Recorded Its Lowest Viewership But Scored Well With Female Fans

TNT Sports’ ‘The Match’ averaged 511,000 viewers.

How LivePass is Redefining Ticketing for the Next Generation of Fans

The next wave of ticketing technology.
February 27, 2024

Peter King Opens Up at the End of His NFL Writing Career

The writer reflects on the state of media and on challenges facing the league.
February 27, 2024

DSG Takes Big Steps Toward Recovery, But Rights Questions Remain

Bankruptcy court approves refinancing plan, settlement of legal dispute.
Ryan Clark
February 26, 2024

Tuned In: Ryan Clark Finalizing New Deal With ESPN

A pending contract could put him over $2 million per year, say sources.
February 23, 2024

WBD Touts Streaming Profit, Sports Alliance While Stock Is Hammered

TNT Sports parent sees tough reaction from Wall Street to latest earnings.