Bellator Fighting Championships may not be officially moving to Spike TV until 2013, but the plans and preparations are already in motion for the MMA promotion to land on the network.
Spike TV officials, as well as the marketing department and the public relations staff, have been hard at work getting Bellator branded before they debut there in eight months.
The relationship has already started to flourish and according to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, they couldn’t be happier to be involved with the godfathers of televised MMA.
“In a word it’s been awesome,” Rebney told MMAWeekly Radio. “They wrote the book on televised mixed martial arts. They wrote the book on branding mixed martial arts. They wrote the book on developing stars in the mixed martial arts space. They know more about production and promotion and marketing and public relations and live event orchestration.”
Spike TV officials worked closely with the UFC for the past several years as they were side-by-side with the promotion during the launch of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as UFC Fight Night events, UFC pay-per-view events, and several other specials that aired on the network.
After the UFC decided to sign on with Fox networks at the close of 2011, Spike TV wanted to stay in the MMA business, so their parent company Viacom purchased a major stake in Bellator.
Their creative influence is already being felt at Bellator, as Spike TV gets ready to launch their new programming directive in the next year.
“It’s been great because of their suggestions and because of their ideas. They’re creative, you get to see the brand grow at a rate that otherwise there’s no potential way it could grow at. They literally wrote the book. They know more about our space and our fighters, and mixed martial arts as a whole worldwide, than anybody in the entertainment industry. It’s been great. It’s been a tremendous, tremendous relationship,” Rebney stated.
“Their focus and their drive is exactly where our focus and our drive is at. Make it better, make it more exciting, make it a more entertaining experience for fans both live and on television. It’s been pretty good.”
Currently, Bellator officials including Rebney have already been meeting with Spike TV officials to start to collaborate on the plan for 2013.
The announcement was made on Tuesday that Bellator would debut a new reality show on Spike TV in 2013 produced by eight-time Emmy award winning producer Bertrand van Munster, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for what is coming up next year.
The new Bellator on Spike TV will likely have a refreshed look for the television broadcast as well as the live show, there will be different programming options, and much like they did with the UFC, a Best of Bellator show will more than likely be added.
Total that up and Rebney is confident that Spike TV will continue to be the home of MMA from now into the future, with Bellator taking over as the flagship carrier for the network.
It’s a home they are very happy to be a part of.
“If you asked 100 MMA fans where they go for their MMA content, 99 out of a 100 are going to say Spike network,” Rebney said in closing. “It’s a very exciting time.”