Bellator MMA make a dramatic arrival earlier this year with a weekly ESPN Deportes series and a memorable string of viral videos on YouTube. But the league lost some momentum during the long negotiations for a new broadcast partner, and its fighters have struggled to find work. The good news is, the wait was worth it. This morning, Bellator announced an unprecedented three-part network deal that will put their product in over 100 million homes.
Bellator’s second season will launch April 8th, 2010, with 12 weekly live events that will air Thursday nights on FOX Sports Net and its regional sports network affiliates (reach: 82 million homes). Every subsequent Saturday night, a 30-minute highlight show will be broadcast on NBC (112 million homes), and an hour-long package will air on Telemundo (62 million homes). The deal also includes a third 12-week season that is slated to begin on August 12th. Both seasons are expected to follow the multi-tournament format established in Bellator’s first season, which crowned Joe Soto, Eddie Alvarez, Lyman Good and Hector Lombard the promotion’s champions.
Unsurprisingly, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is pretty freakin’ geeked about the whole thing. As he told MMA Junkie:
But is it the mythical "Right Deal" that Dana White has long hunted for the UFC, or will FSN/NBC/Telemundo be an unsustainable cash-bleeder? (See also: EliteXC/CBS). If you ask Rebney, Bellator has made all the right moves: