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  • 09-25-2013, 11:23 AM
    Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney: FOX came to us for Latin America deal
    "FOX reached out to us and started these conversations months ago about the potential of developing this deal," Rebney told

    The promotion on Tuesday announced a partnership with FOX Sports Latin America that covers 50 million homes in 19 Latin American countries, including Brazil. The deal calls for taped programming through 2014 and 25 live "in-territory" events annually starting in 2015.

    The news came as something of a surprise given the UFC's relationship with FOX, which is in the second year of a seven-year broadcast deal with the promotion. The UFC is one of seven "pillars" of sports programming on the new FOX Sports 1 cable network, which airs its live events and shoulder programming.

    In Latin America, the UFC is partnered in Brazil with Globo and in Mexico (and other territories) with Televisa. Yet the new alliance between Bellator and FOX came as a surprise to one of the Viacom-owned promotion's most vocal critics, UFC President Dana White, who on Tuesday told he would look into how the partnership came about in spite of the Las Vegas-based UFC's prominent role with FOX.

    For Rebney, though, the answer is simple.

    "You'd have to assume, given their size and the magnitude of FOX's deal with the UFC here domestically, that if they wanted an alliance in those international markets, I'm sure those doors were open to them," he said. "But we were able to make it work."

    The executive said the partnership came to fruition through a longstanding contact from Bellator's days on FOX Sports Net, which broadcast the tournament-based promotion's second season.

    "I had a lot of allies and friends over there, and months ago, one of them reached out to me and said, 'Bjorn, I've taken this all the way up the totem pole, and we would be very interested in sitting down with you,'" he said.

    With existing TV deals, Bellator is seen in over 135 countries, but Rebney said the partnership with FOX Latin America significantly increases the promotion's profile in Brazil, which he calls the No. 2 international market in MMA.

    Bellator programming on TV Esporte Interativo, the promotion's current TV partner in Brazil, draws north of 2 million viewers per show, Rebney said.

    But that could increase with live event programming, which he said kicks in when the TV Esporte Interativo loses the rights to live shows in 2015. He said there are no concrete plans as to when and where the events broadcast on FOX Latin America will be held.

    "Maybe we'll kick off a season down there so we get the necessary prep time," he said. "Maybe we'll do that 'Road to the Championship' week before and after there. Maybe we'll do the 'Summer Series' down there, or create unique standalone sequencing of events over a three- to four-week [period] where we hit major markets in a collection of three or four different countries. We're still working through the logistics now."

    Clearly, though, Bellator is making headway under unique circumstances.

    "[The new deal] sends a message that FOX has made a decision to work with Bellator in this incredibly important region, and from a Bellator-centric perspective, that's a spectacular message," Rebney said.
  • 09-24-2013, 05:34 PM
    That was quick.
  • 09-24-2013, 04:50 PM
    Pasha K
    DW must be mad because he can not bash them like he did with Spike and Showtime.
  • 09-24-2013, 03:43 PM

    Bellator announces broadcast deal with FOX Sports Latin America

    Bellator is expanding its presence in Latin America – under UFC partner FOX's umbrella.

    The Viacom-owned MMA promotion today announced an international broadcast deal with FOX Sports Latin America, which is distributed throughout 50 million homes in 19 Latin American countries, including Brazil.

    Next month, FOX Sports Latin America will begin broadcasting past Bellator events, "Bellator 360" and other shoulder programming, according to a press release obtained by

    Additionally, the deal calls for an increased live presence on the channel in 2015, when it will host 25 live events and "in-territory live events on FOX Sports and the online authenticated platform"

    The partnership commences with FOX Sports Latin America's broadcast of "Bellator MMA: Rampage vs. Ortiz," (Bellator 106), which takes place Nov. 2 at Long Beach Arena in California. The event's main-card airs domestically on pay-per-view following prelims on Spike TV.

    "FOX Sports Latin America has been looking for the premier mixed martial arts organization to partner with, and Bellator is the perfect fit," Carlos Martinez, president of FOX International Channels Latin America stated. "We are thrilled to make Bellator the widest distributed MMA promotion in Latin America and Brazil, reaching more than 50 million homes from day one.

    "We are also very excited to be able to work as partners with Bellator to produce large scale Bellator events throughout Latin America and to produce reality shows in key territories. This partnership is a long term relationship that has virtually unlimited potential."

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