PFL Announces Two-Year Broadcast Deal with ESPN, TSN

Kayla Harrison vs. Brittney Elkin, PFL
Kayla Harrison vs. Brittney Elkin Credit: Mike Straus/Cageside Press

The PFL has a new home on none other than ESPN, as well as TSN in Canada, per a press release from the promotion Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

The Professional Fighters League just upgraded its television presence significantly. In a press release distributed Monday, PFL officials announced the signing of a two year deal with ESPN to become the home of the promotion in the U.S., as well as a deal with TSN (The Sports Network) in Canada.

Included in the deal are all ten Professional Fighters League events, including the regular season, playoffs, and championship. The events will air across ESPN2, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes (the network’s Spanish-language channel). Throughout the season, three hours of action will air on ESPN+, with an additional two hours on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Additional supporting programming such as pre- and post-fight shows are also expected.

The upcoming regular season will see six five-hour events scheduled on Thursday nights from May to August, featuring the league’s eight weight classes. As was the case in 2018, the playoffs will then see those who made the post-season fight twice in a night.

The PFL 2019 Championship will once again air on New Year’s Eve.

In Canada, TSN will now become the exclusive home of the Professional Fighters League. The network aired a handful of PFL events prior to the kick-off of the league’s 2018 season. Throughout the league’s inaugural season, however, PFL events were available exclusively via Facebook Watch for Canadian (and international) fans.

ESPN and TSN are the American and Canadian homes of the UFC, respectively.

“We are pleased to add the PFL to our combat sports roster. 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,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “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.”

Among the aspects of the league format to look forward to in 2019 will be the inclusion of a women’s lightweight division. The 155lb weight class will put the spotlight on star Kayla Harrison, the two-time American Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo.

In Monday’s press release, Donn Davis, Co-Founder and Chairman, Professional Fighters League, added that “the PFL was created to offer the 300 million global MMA fans the sport-season format that other major sports like the NFL and NBA have, which is the transparency and meritocracy of a regular season, playoffs and championship.” He went on to say that “fans can now follow the stories, and business partners can engage in the journeys, of the PFL fighters throughout the season. This agreement to bring PFL to ESPN and ESPN+ further validates our unique and innovative product and will accelerate the PFL’s growth.”

The PFL 2019 season begins Thursday, May 9, 2019. The league’s inaugural season aired on NBC SN.