• Loading stock data...
Saturday, March 2, 2024

Cagenomics Highlights Professional Fighters League Deal With ESPN


Photo credit: PFL

The Professional Fighters League has found a broadcast partner to help bolster growth during its second year.

The regular season, playoffs and championship-format combat sports league signed a two-year deal with ESPN for the sports network to become the exclusive broadcast partner.

The inaugural PFL season was broadcast on NBCSN and Facebook Watch. With the ESPN partnership, PFL will have all its events on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes and digitally on ESPN+, while TSN has Canadian rights. Facebook Watch will retain certain international rights, with more details forthcoming, PFL CEO Pete Murray said.

Murray said slating PFL events on Thursday nights will separate it from other combat sports, and during its summer season capitalize on a relatively slow sports season. The PFL season includes six five-hour, regular-season events from May to August and three playoff events in October.

READ MORE: The PFL and Their Journey to Bring MMA Into an Entirely New League

“We’re excited to partner with ESPN, and the fact it is the destination for combat sports is a great opportunity for us to grow awareness and carve out a niche,” Murray said. “We have a real opportunity to engage avid fans and even broader sports fans.”

The initial deal is two years, but Murray said the league’s plan and his expectation is to be with ESPN for a long period.

As ESPN executives hope to double down on its combat sports programming, the network will air live events and additional PFL programming.

“We are pleased to add the PFL to our combat sports roster,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president of programming and scheduling. “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.”

[mc4wp_form id=”8260″]

Part of Murray’s excitement heading into the second season of PFL is the technological aspect to the broadcasts, which he said will be deployed throughout the year. During events, Murray said fans will be provided real-time, data-tied performance in the cage, of SmartCage and Cagenomics, ranging from miles-per-hour of a punch or kick to caloric burn and heart rate.

“Last year, we presented a new format of a sport,” he said. “This year, we’ll add to that format the tech as a big part of the live experience, rich data that will enhance the sport.”

Along with the in-season events and playoffs, ESPN will also air five additional programs throughout the season, including “Road to the Playoffs,” “Road to the Championship,” and “Best of Season,” as well as a 2018 season review and 2019 roster selection show.

READ MORE: ‘We Are LAFC’ Shows Off Exclusive Content Opportunity for MLS, ESPN

The additional programming beyond the actual events is a strategy Murray sees great value in, having once worked closely while at the NFL on the “Hard Knocks” and NFL Films.

The league is built partially on year-round storytelling, Murray said. Along with a strong digital presence and the extra programming on ESPN, PFL also will have a weekly podcast distributed by ESPN.

“That’s a big part of our go-to-market,” Murray said. “Grow awareness and drive engagement. Not only do we have a unique format built to create stars — each of our fights means something, but we drive the storylines.”

The second season of PFL starts in May, building on a what Murray called a successful season that finished on New Year’s Eve.

“We launched a brand, validated a unique, innovative format and presented a high-quality, compelling experience,” he said. “We finished the year with five million people tuned in from around the world. It was a short amount of time, lots of traction and global appeal.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Sheer Madness: What You Need to Know About MLB’s New Uniform Saga

MLB’s reworked uniforms have become a major source of spring training controversy.

How Daily Fantasy Sports Solved NBA Fantasy

New Horizons in Sports How Daily Fantasy Sports Solved NBA Fantasy Presented…
Aug 15, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Chain crew members walk on the field prior to the game between the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Football Is Finally Getting With the Times, Technologically Speaking

Helmet communications in college and first-down technology in NFL could be coming.

Why New Pac-12 Commissioner Teresa Gould Deserved Better

The first female Power 5 commissioner will inherit her predecessors’ mess.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Jenny Cavnar is Breaking Barriers During Oakland’s Strange Season


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

Tuned In: Inside Fox’s Plans for Covering Caitlin Clark’s Regular-Season Finale

The Iowa star’s biggest game to date won’t be buried on any streamer.
Sports Illustrated
February 29, 2024

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

A new story has elevated employees’ concerns about the outlet’s editorial autonomy.
March 1, 2024

MASN-Comcast Negotiations: Big Implications for TV and MLB

Orioles-controlled RSN continues to negotiate with dominant local cable carrier.

How LivePass is Redefining Ticketing for the Next Generation of Fans

The next wave of ticketing technology.
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.
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.
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.