Report: Viacom Buys Bellator, Plans 2013 Start On Spike TV
By MATT BOONE
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
The following is an excerpt from an article from the USA Today online website:
Viacom buys Bellator, plans 2013 start on Spike
By Sergio Non, USA TODAY
"MTV Networks_ Spike TV channel is getting out of the Ultimate Fighting Championship_s business, but the broadcaster has increased its ties to mixed martial arts.
Viacom, parent of MTV Networks, bought a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships and will start airing the promotion_s bouts on Spike in 2013, the companies told USA TODAY this week. They_ve had ongoing talks for about a year as they finished up various deals, and over the past month finally reached the point where they could announce the news, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said.
Selling to Viacom_s entertainment conglomerate guarantees a stable future for Bellator, said Rebney, who will remain in charge of the MMA organization.
"It puts all of those cornerstones of ownership in place for us," he said. "Which is something that_s been so seriously lacking in the MMA space with so many different companies, including Strikeforce and the IFL and Affliction and all the different failures that have occurred. â€¦ It alleviates those issues."
Bellator is the No. 2 promotion in mixed martial arts behind market leader Zuffa, owner of UFC and Strikeforce.
The experience and cachet of Spike in broadcasting mixed martial arts over the last six years makes it the ideal partner for Bellator, Rebney said. Spike became the first channel to embrace the sport when it started airing Zuffa_s programming in 2005, including The Ultimate Fighter reality show and live UFC Fight Night events.
Although Spike_s agreement to carry new material from UFC ends in December, the channel still has rights to the promotion_s library through 2012. As a result, fights from Bellator won_t air on Spike until 2013, said Kevin Kay, Spike TV president. In addition to continuing Bellator_s current practice of having two seasons annually, Spike expects to run additional programs such as highlight shows and related content, both on TV and online."
Check out the complete article with more details on the sale by visiting USAToday.com.
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