The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has announced a multi-year exclusive deal with DraftKings Inc. that will designate the Sports Betting Operator as the 'Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Partner of the PFL'. News of the deal was made public with a press release from the PFL on April 20, 2021.
"We're thrilled to partner with DraftKings as we look to advance the sport by delivering a premium and unique betting and gaming experience to the millions of passionate MMA fans in the US. The PFL’s win and advance season format combined with our proprietary SmartCage fight data and analytics offer unmatched prop bets and gaming opportunities. MMA’s league is back with our season debut this Friday, April 23 in primetime on ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes.”
However, the deal will have more than just a seamless gaming and viewing experience to offer fight fans and fans of betting and fantasy gaming. PFL's proprietary SmartCage technology measures real-time MMA fighter performance analytics along with positional and biometric data. With the help of SmartCage technology, PFL and DraftKings will be able to broadcast real-time data like the speed of a punch, the amount of force in a strike, the amount of energy exerted by a fighter in the contest, and a lot more. The data will be used to place wagers on outcomes that were otherwise impossible to measure:
'This data will eventually allow for innovative and distinctive prop bets. For example, fans will be able to place a wager on whether or not a fighter will land a strike exceeding 25 MPH.' - Transcript from PFL's press release
PFL's 2021 season starts on April 23
PFL's 2021 season will kick off on April 23, 2021 with the PFL 1 fight card. Scheduled to be held at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA, the event will feature featherweight and lightweight fights in the 2021 tournament. The event will be headlined by a lightweight bout between former UFC champion Anthony Pettis and UFC veteran Clay Collard.
Since its launch in 2018, the PFL has garnered a lot of attention from the MMA community. It has emerged as a serious challenger to bigger promotions like the UFC and Bellator. One of the biggest talking points about the PFL has been their higher fighter pay and acquisition of world-class talent. The PFL champions earn a $1 million prize in addition to the contract sum and the fight purse for each outing, which is significantly higher than an organization like the UFC that reportedly spends around 16% of their overall expenditure on fighter pay.