Alex Rodriguez at eMerge Americas convention in Miami on June 13, 2017.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Alex Rodriguez is betting on the expansion of blended martial arts.
The previous MLB star is now a partial proprietor of the Skilled Fighters League after he contributed to a $30 million funding spherical, the corporate mentioned Thursday. Rodriguez joined media funding agency Waverley Capital within the elevate and could have a seat on PFL’s board of administrators.
Phrases of the funding weren’t disclosed.
This marks the second latest professional sports activities funding for Rodriguez. He turned a co-owner of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves in April 2021, becoming a member of former Walmart e-commerce govt Marc Lore to purchase the franchise for a reported $1.5 billion. By means of his A-Rod Corp. agency, he invests in UFC-branded gyms.
Rodriguez, 46, made greater than $450 million all through his 22-season MLB profession, in accordance with Spotrac, an internet site that tracks sports activities contracts. He retired in 2016.
PFL is now valued at $500 million, in accordance with an individual with information of the deal. That is up from a reported $400 million in 2021. The particular person declined to be named as a result of PFL’s valuation is not public.
The corporate will use the funds from the Rodriguez-Waverley deal to broaden globally and goal free agent fighters from Endeavor-owned UFC, PFL founder and Chairman Donn Davis mentioned in an interview with CNBC. PFL desires to construct a roster to leverage its pay-per-view “Tremendous Combat” occasion that is scheduled to debut in 2023.
“They now have an amazing possibility – UFC or PFL,” Davis mentioned. “We’re open for enterprise within the pay-per-view division.”
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Davis known as Rodriguez’s curiosity in PFL a “mutual attraction.”
“Alex is constructing a enterprise profession in sports activities that he desires to equal his baseball profession,” he mentioned. Davis known as Rodriguez “progressive in his method to investing and constructing firms.”
Rodriguez credited PFL’s world attain as a motive for the curiosity. The league says it has 600 million followers globally and PFL matches are distributed in 160 international locations. “The PFL continues to construct and innovate for followers, media, and fighters, and there may be large demand within the market,” Rodriguez mentioned in a press release.
PFL is a single-entity league managed by buyers, together with outstanding sports activities and leisure figures resembling Washington Nationals proprietor Mark Lerner, former NFL star Ray Lewis, and funding corporations together with Ares Capital and Elysian Park Ventures.
The league has an everyday season and a postseason, which concludes with six championship competitions. Fighters normally obtain $1 million in the event that they win. Additionally, PFL has a media rights take care of Disney-owned ESPN and will get sponsorship revenue from companies that include sports activities betting agency DraftKings.
PFL has now raised $200 million since 2018. That features a $65 million raise in February 2021 and a $50 million Series C in 2019. Davis mentioned the plan is to develop PFL right into a multinational firm, together with PFL Europe and PFL Mexico.
“Their native fighters, their very own prime-time schedule, their very own occasions,” Davis mentioned. “That is our focus when it comes to growth internationally.”