Mark Burnett, Kevin Hart, Tony Robbins Invest in MMA Startup
A new Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition has emerged after receiving a $28 million equity investment from a group that includes MGM Television chief Mark Burnett, actor-entrepreneur Kevin Hart, and self-help guru Tony Robbins.
The MMA startup, Professional Fighters League (PPL) is in its first year of operations and looks to challenge the UFC for ratings amid the growing public interest in MMA bouts.
The PFL at present has a one-year deal with NBC Sports Network for carriage of its fights.
Burnett, the renowned reality TV producers, aims to develop a range of programming around PFL, starting with a “Challengers Series” that would be an elimination-style competition among aspiring MMA pugilists for the chance to join the league.
“This a big sports opportunity,” Burnett said in a report.
UFC was acquired in 2016 by Endeavor for $4.4 billion, which resulted in ESPN committing to a five-year $1.4 billion rights deal and PPL investors are hoping for the same success.
“The most valuable thing in media right now is content that can drive subscription opportunities,” Burnett said.
PFL was founded by Donn Davis, Russ Ramsey, and Mark Leschly and at present, the league has 72 fighters in six weight classes competing for $10 million in prize money.
“Fans have enthusiastically responded to the PFL, with over 2 million people viewing PFL4,” said Pete Murray, CEO of PFL.
“Our fights are as exciting and our broadcast is as good as other MMA companies that have been around for decades, and we’re just getting started.”