PFL Chairman Donn Davis FOS Podcast

PFL Chairman Donn Davis FOS Podcast


February 20, 2020 Front Office Sports

A lifelong entrepreneur, Davis proved successful in technology, hospitality and entertainment before embarking on his latest venture: starting a professional sports league. Heading into its third year, Davis’s ambitions for the PFL include global expansion and betting integration. Having raised $100 million, Davis is bullish on the PFL becoming the next billion-dollar league.

On the PFL’s growth on television/ESPN

Davis: “You can have minor sports on a minor budget and you can have major sports on a major budget. So we’re producing at the PFL already 25% of the UFC audience. Think how insane that is. So the UFC has been around 25 years. The UFC’s marketing budget is $150 million. Ours is zero. They’re on ESPN on Saturday nights, we’re on ESPN2 on Thursday nights and we’re already doing 25% our TV audience. That’s how good the product is and how differentiated it is and how much demand there is for MMA out there. And we’re growing 25% a year for our worst fight, 95% a year for our best fight…So we’re on our way yet we’re still extremely affordable producing major engagement, major audience.”

On gambling integration in the PFL

Davis: “In my role as founding partner of Revolution, we had done a lot of investments, on the gaming side. Sport Radar, DraftKings…So I’ve been aware of how important gaming is and gambling is for a long time really on the engagement. From the very beginning, what we did at PFL is say, ‘what if you’re starting a new sports league to be digital first, mobile first?’ That doesn’t mean you’re not going to be on TV. That just means what would you build into the product. So it was very engaging…So one thing we did is we wired the cage, we call it the PFL smart cage. We work with the people created the yellow line SMT, and we’re the first to get full clearance from all the commissions to essentially put technology in the cage…What that does is collect the biometrics and all the data and all the statistics, real-time in the fight. We’ve displayed some of those this year. Heart rate, punch impact, distance traveled…The pressure on a mat…So the more we can start to display these analytics on TV, people go, ‘huh, I’m amazed.’…That also becomes prop bets on the mobile phone as we get to 20 States and 30 States and we get more consumers with real time mobile gambling.”

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