International subscription sports streaming service DAZN and the Professional Fighters League (PFL) US-based mixed martial arts (MMA) series have today (October 20) announced the formation of a joint venture to run the new PFL Europe regional league.

DAZN becomes a founding partner of PFL Europe, which is due to launch in 2023 as part of the series’ ongoing expansion, and will broadcast in “prime local hours” for all events staged in Europe.

The two have also entered into an “historic, multiyear media rights agreement” that will see all PFL events around the world broadcast solely on DAZN “in select major international markets, with a focus on Europe” also from 2023.

Among the 53 international markets in which DAZN is now the exclusive home of PFL global events are the UK, Ireland, and Spain.

In addition, DAZN has become a partner in the PFL’s new pay-per-view Super Fight Division and as such will “promote and distribute those highly anticipated events in international territories outside of the United States and Canada.”

Announced in July, PFL Europe is intended to attract the top MMA fighters from around the continent and to serve as a pathway to the roster of the existing global PFL competition.

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By GlobalData

As the PFL grows, its intention is to replicate the approach elsewhere, helping to further strengthen the competition’s top level.

The PFL regards itself as the number two MMA company globally and notes that it is the only MMA league with a “true sports-season format” comprising a regular season, playoffs, and championship.

In May, it was announced that it had completed a $30-million Series E investment round to fund global expansion and launch its new pay-per-view Super Fight Division.

As part of its growth, the series has secured a host of broadcast deals this year, notably including one with DAZN in Japan and Spain.

Peter Murray, chief executive of PFL, said: “PFL Europe is the beginning of the Champions League of MMA from PFL. We are excited to have DAZN as our strategic media rights distribution partner in Europe for all of its fight franchises – PFL Global League, PFL Challenger Series, PFL Europe, and PFL PPV Super Fight Division.”

Shay Segev, chief executive of DAZN Group, added: “DAZN is fast becoming the preferred partner for rightsholders for the simple reason that we can provide a truly global solution, access to fanbases across the world.

“We have a strong track record investing in and accelerating the growth of sports. We are also more agile and innovative than traditional broadcasters and, like the PFL, we want to stay relevant to today’s consumer.

“With DAZN, fans can either watch in the traditional linear way or enjoy a more immersive and interactive entertainment experience with greater gamification and bolt-on products and services.”