A PFL graphic for the Manfio-Madge fight.

Professional Fighters League executives have often discussed the importance of global markets to their company, and we’ve seen that reflected in the various deals the league has struck in international markets. In addition to U.S.-focused deals with ESPN, fubo Sports Network, and Twitter, the PFL has signed several notable international deals, including ones with Stan Sport (Australia), Torneos/DirecTV (Latin America), Channel 4 (UK), RMC Sport (France), fighting.de (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), and more. Their latest deal is with ESPN Africa, and covers all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Here’s more from a release:

The Professional Fighters League, (PFL), the fastest growing and most innovative sports league, today announced a media rights agreement with ESPN Africa for
the 2022 Season, highlighting the company’s commitment to bringing the world’s best MMA action to fight fans on the continent. Under the agreement, the network will become the exclusive PFL content provider in Sub-Saharan Africa and include live coverage of the Regular Season, Playoffs and PFL World Championship.

In addition to live event coverage, audiences will have access to the PFL highlights show and other thrilling content from the league. ESPN is the home of U.S. sports in Africa and PFL will be broadcast alongside other leading global sports properties, such as the NFL and NBA.

“The PFL is thrilled to announce our exclusive broadcast agreement with ESPN Africa to deliver the PFL 2022 Season events to MMA fans across the continent and expand our partnership with the worldwide leader in sports,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray. “Africa is a priority market for the PFL and we are committed to signing fighters from the continent as well as hosting future events there to help accelerate the growth of the sport.”

“We are excited to have secured the broadcast rights to the 2022 season of the Professional Fighters League for ESPN Africa,” said Kyle De Klerk, Director: Sports, The Walt Disney Company Africa. “The PFL will complement our current international and local sports offering, bringing viewers the excitement, adrenalin and exhilaration that are synonymous with this no holds barred, world-class mixed martial arts league,” he added.

Murray’s comments there about signing fighters from the continent are perhaps notable, as local talent has been a big part of the PFL’s success in some of the aforementioned international markets. As noted elsewhere in that release, the PFL does already have one notable fighter from this region in lightweight Don Madge, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa. As seen at top, Madge will make his PFL Regular Season debut on Wednesday, April 20 in the co-main event (from Arlington, Texas) against Brazilian fighter Raush Manfio, the 2021 PFL lightweight world champion. It’s also significant that Murray is talking about hosting future events in Africa, too.

It’s interesting to see the PFL continue to strike these kinds of international deals, and to see their next one come with ESPN Africa. The PFL already has their main U.S. deal with ESPN, but this appears to be their first deal with one of the ESPN International divisions. And it should give them significant TV exposure in Sub-Saharan Africa.

[Image from PFLMMA.com]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.