ESPN Star Sports (ESS) has announced a five-year broadcast deal with Super Fight League (SFL), Asia۪s leading Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) property which is the brainchild of Raj Kundra, owner of Rajasthan Royals, and Sanjay Dutt, Bollywood superstar.
The network will cover 23 SFL Fight Nights live on a fortnightly basis from the 2013-14 season which kicks off in Mumbai on Friday 29th March and will continue all year round till March-end 2014.
Ever since its launch in 2012, SFL has gained a lot of traction amongst MMA enthusiasts in the country. This year a total of around 250 fighters, male and female, from India and abroad will fight it out for the coveted Championship Title Belt and the right to be crowned SFL World Champion. This season will see participants from topnotch MMA playing countries like Japan, Brazil and the USA. A lot of NRI MMA fighters from countries like Australia, the UK, Canada, Germany and the USA will also be seen in action in this high octane contact sport.
Vijay Rajput, Chief Operating Officer, ESPN Software India, said, We believe in offering the best of sporting content to Indian sports fans across genres and this acquisition firmly reiterates our constant endeavour in this direction. This acquisition enables us to expand our content in MMA fighting and we think this property will get a lot of traction with fight fans across the country. We will soon start a high decibel marketing campaign across our entire network leveraging top fighters of the league and Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt to build up to the season launch.
Raj Kundra, Founder Chairman, Super Fight League, said, The broadcast tie-up with ESPN Star Sports will provide a major boost to our efforts to promote this property across South Asia. We are very enthused with the response that SFL has been able to generate in its very first year of operation. The league is today ranked amongst the top five MMA leagues in the world. As a result, we have seen a lot of interest from leading MMA fighters to compete in SFL season 2. Good quality fighters from India and abroad will help the league reach new highs. The new season will see 11 title belts on offer, up from five title belts in the first edition. Male participants will fight it out across eight weight categories from bantamweight to heavyweight while the ladies۪ section will see action in three weight categories from flyweight to featherweight.
Sanjay Dutt, Co-Founder, Super Fight League, commented, “SFL is about real heroes, real fights, real action. SFL fights are also intense where one good move can help an underdog come up triumphant over an established champion. One has to be alert as there are no second chances here. I get inspired when I see these fighters prepare for action. The broadcast deal with ESPN Star Sports will give SFL a big boost especially riding on the success of the first year.”
Prior to this, Neo Prime was the broadcaster of the Super Fight League.