The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the US-based mixed martial arts series, has extended its French media rights deal with RMC Sport, the Altice-owned pay-television operator, through 2022.
The renewal, struck in conjunction with Athletic Sports Group and its combat sports distributor Fight Globe, means RMC will continue to hold exclusive linear and streaming PFL rights across France for the 2022 season, PFL’s fourth.
Before RMC and PFL first partnered up in April last year, no previous editions of PFL (launched in 2017) were shown on linear TV in France.
That original RMC deal was significant as it came after France lifted a ban on the staging and broadcasting of MMA events in 2020.
Peter Murray, PFL’s chief executive, said: “The Professional Fighters League is proud to advance our media rights partnership with RMC Sport … RMC is the home of MMA in France and we are eager to continue delivering an exceptional product featuring world-class athletes to fans there."
In the build-up to its new season, which starts later this month, PFL has already struck deals for 2022 with Channel 4, the free-to-air UK broadcaster, and with US media heavyweight ESPN.
The ESPN deal is a multi-year renewal that will see increased coverage on ESPN’s linear channels.
Under the deal, which media has reported will run through 2023 with an option to extend, these linear channels will cover the majority of the PFL regular season, as well as the entire post-season playoff campaign, while there will also be “additional event coverage” on ESPN2.
In December, meanwhile, PFL agreed to a multi-year domestic partnership with US over-the-top live television and sports streaming service FuboTV for its new PFL Challenger Series.
The PFL Challenger Series, which debuts on 18 February 2022, will stream exclusively on FuboTV and its linear network, Fubo Sports Network.
PFL has also brought in a new commercial partner this week, in a deal with whiskey brand Wolf Spirit which makes Punchers Chance Bourbon the official spirits partner of the MMA organization.
The brand will sponsor all PFL regular season events on ESPN's networks, while Punchers Chance will also be served in the on-site VIP lounge at PFL nights.
Umberto Luchini, Wolf Spirit’s founder, said: "We see a tremendous opportunity to expose our great American spirit to PFL’s vast fanbase through an integrated approach – from pouring rights in the VIP lounges to in-store activations to leveraging PFL talent for social promotion.”
Late last month, beverage company NXT LVL was named as PFL’s official water partner in a deal running to December 2024.