ESPN will remain the U.S. broadcast home of the PFL for the foreseeable future.
After PFL founder Donn Davis previously teased an announcement of a new broadcast deal, league officials unveiled the news in a press release issued Thursday. The league has called ESPN home for the past several seasons, which will remain the case under the new multi-year deal.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though ESPN will carry both the PFL regular season, championship, and the new Super-Fight division, with the network holding exclusive rights to those Pay-Per-View cards in the United States.
“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,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray in Thursday’s press release. “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.”
Ngannou and Paul were major pick-ups for the Professional Fighters League in 2023, though neither has actually competed for the promotion thus far. Ngannou is expected to fight sometime in early 2024, while Paul’s debut is expect to come later in the year, as he prepares for his first-ever MMA fight.
The extension of the ESPN deal comes on the heels of the PFL’s acquisition of rival Bellator MMA, which it will run as a separate entity consisting of eight shows per year. The Bellator branch of the family does not yet have a broadcast deal announced.
The league is also expected to add more regional properties, with PFL Latin America, PFL Australia, and PFL Africa expected to join PFL Europe as feeder leagues of sorts to the main promotion. The league also has its Challenger Series, which offers a spot in the regular season, expected to return in early 2024.