The CBS Television Network and ProElite, Inc., on Thursday made official what had already leaked out through the media on Wednesday. The two companies announced a multi-year agreement that will bring mixed martial arts to a major broadcast television network for the first time.
CBS will broadcast four MMA events per year, produced by ProElite’s EliteXC fight division, as two-hour live primetime specials targeted for Saturday nights.
The agreement augments an existing relationship between CBS Corporation and ProElite, which began broadcasting its EliteXC live MMA events on CBS’s Showtime premium cable network in 2007. EliteXC events will continue to air on Showtime.
Additionally, CBS Interactive and ProElite’s new media division, ProElite.com, will collaborate on generating interactive content for both companies’ platforms, including CBSSports.com. The online offerings could include streaming of events, clips syndicated across the CBS Audience Network, and other enhanced content.
“Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and a wildly popular entertainment vehicle for upscale, young adult audiences,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. “It’s original programming for Saturday night; it’s live, creating an event-atmosphere; and it’s something that hasn’t been seen on network television, until now.”
“This is a pivotal moment for the sport of mixed martial arts now that a major television network plans to broadcast live MMA events during primetime hours,” said Douglas DeLuca, Chief Executive Officer of ProElite. ” The network television agreement with CBS is an important milestone for ProElite as we continue to implement our growth strategy and develop existing relationships with our international partners.”
“Our world-class fighters and the high production value of our events continue to drive ProElite as a global MMA organization that is fortified by the bedrock foundation of a partnership with CBS,” said Gary Shaw, President of EliteXC. “Broadcasting our events on CBS will instantly engage a new fan base, as well as provide an opportunity for EliteXC to further establish itself as the world’s premier MMA organization.”