ESPN has brought the Professional Fighters League into the family.
The PFL announced Monday that it has signed a multi-year, multi-platform deal to air events on the network’s ESPN2, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes platforms. The announcement was made on ESPN’s Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show by PFL CEO Peter Murray and women’s featherweight star Kayla Harrison.
This will be an exclusive deal with ESPN following the PFL’s previous partnership with NBC Sports (that dated back to 2012 when the league was known as the World Series of Fighting). The 2019 PFL season will be composed of 10 events airing across the aforementioned platforms. Monday’s release laid out the schedule for what will be the league’s second season.
From May to August, six PFL regular season events will air on Thursdays. The PFL playoffs will then take place in October over the course of three events.
Per ESPN, the 2019 PFL season premieres May 9, with preliminary bouts airing on ESPN+ and the main card airing on ESPN2. This is expected to be the standard format going forward. Playoffs start on Oct. 11.
Lastly, the PFL 2019 Championship takes place on Dec. 31 on New Year’s Eve, when champions in six different divisions will be crowned with each of those fighters receiving a $1 million prize. The finals will air exclusively on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
In Canada, the PFL will be broadcast exclusively on the TSN network.
Coverage will also include pre- and post-fight analysis and additional PFL programming including “Road to the Playoffs” and “Road to the Championship” shows and a “Best of Season” program. The PFL-ESPN partnership begins this upcoming spring with a “2018 PFL Season Review” and a “2019 Roster Selection Show”.
One division tournament that has been confirmed for the 2019 PFL season is women’s lightweight, the league’s first female tournament. Two-time Olympic judo champion and unbeaten MMA fighter Harrison will be part of that bracket.