bjorn-rebney-10.jpgA bigger broadcast platform has brought bigger crowds to Bellator, according to the tournament-based promotion’s chairman and CEO.

“We had to get to a place where we had a true TV partnership as opposed to a classic licensing relationship, and we’ve got that,” Bjorn Rebney recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “So I’m able to sit down with Kevin Kay at Spike and the team there and say, ‘How can are champions defend (their belts) a minimum of three times a year? How do we keep fueling that machine?’ We’re finally at a place where we’ve got that set.”

Rebney said multiple event sellouts were a big part of a push from broadcast partner Spike TV, whose parent company, Viacom, owns a majority stake in Bellator.

“A lot of that is due to Spike, and we were reaching a million per week,” he said. “It really affected attendance, and it affected it in a positive way.”

But Rebney said there were other key factors in the success of the MMA promotion’s eighth season, which wrapped two weeks ago with Bellator 95. The move to Spike TV came with a new night for live events – Thursdays as opposed to the Fridays of the previous two seasons that broadcast on the less-seen MTV2. As a result, Bellator faced less competition from rival MMA interests and secured a strong lead-in from TNA Impact Wrestling.

Season 8 events drew an average audience of 861,000 viewers, live or via DVR, according to a Spike TV official. The previous season on MTV2 averaged just 162,000.

“Thursday nights were good nights for us,” Rebney said. “Friday and Saturday nights each have their respective problems, but Thursday nights seem to be a really good fit.”

Bellator also honed in powerful regional markets, holding two events in Southern California (both sellouts, according to Rebney) and one in Atlantic City, N.J. The promotion moved its headquarters from Chicago to Irvine, Calif., in 2012.

“California is a mecca for MMA, but it responded beautifully,” Rebney said. “So we’ve got a lot of plans coming up over the next year to be in California regularly.”

Bellator recently announced four-man tournaments in the heavyweight, light heavyweight and bantamweight divisions. Rebney said the smaller-sized competitions could become a regular feature for the promotion. Previously, eight-man competitions have been its sole offering.

The new format will decrease the turnaround time for champions, who in early Bellator seasons griped about long layoffs as tournament winners/title challengers emerged.

With more fights on the horizon, those complaints are likely to disappear.

“Guys are going to be very busy,” Rebney said.

For the latest on Bellator’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Titan FC signs long-term broadcast partnership with UFC Fight Pass

  • 15 days ago
  • 0 views

Starting next month, you'll be able to watch Titan FC exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. Titan executives Jeff Aronson and Lex McMahon announced that the promotion has signed a "ground-breaking" broadcas read news >>

Bellator 138 predictions: Scott Coker expects 'Kimbo vs. Shamrock" ratings bonanza

  • 14 days ago
  • 30 views

A confident Bellator President predicts that "Kimbo vs. Shamrock" will be even bigger than "Ortiz vs. Bonnar" for Spike TV on June 19th in St. Louis. In Nov. 2014, Bellator MMA scored the biggest MMA read news >>

Bigger Rematch: Jones vs. Cormier or Jones vs. Gustafsson?

  • 27 days ago
  • 3 views

It takes three to tango. And in the UFC's light heavyweight division, former champion Jon Jones, current champion Daniel Cormier and top contender Alexander Gustafsson are dancing like a bunch of tee read news >>

Bellator 138's Kimbo Slice warns heavyweights: No one is safe, I'm coming to fight them all

  • 27 days ago
  • 24 views

Former street fighter-turned professional mixed martial arts (MMA) practitioner (and boxer), Kimbo Slice, will make his long-awaited return to the cage when he faces long-time veteran, Ken Shamrock, read news >>

UFC confirms partnership with USADA, details of out-of-competition testing program

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

The UFC today announced details of its new out-of-competition testing program, set to take effect July 1, which include a minimum of 2,750 drug tests per year – or 5 potential tests for each fighter read news >>

Las Vegas Monorail announces partnership with the UFC

  • 28 days ago
  • 0 views

The Las Vegas Monorail and the UFC just signed a one-year deal to provide discount rates to UFC fans attending the promotion's local events. The UFC just hooked up with the Las Vegas Monorail in a on read news >>

Las Vegas Monorail, UFC Announce Partnership

  • 29 days ago
  • 0 views

LAS VEGAS – The Las Vegas Monorail today announced a partnership with UFC® to provide fight fans discounted fares as they ride trains to attend upcoming UFC events. Fight fans will have the exciting read news >>

Jedrzejczyk considers herself a bigger success than KSW standouts Khalidov and Pudzianowski

  • 28 days ago
  • 0 views

UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk discusses her upcoming fight against Jessica Penne and her reason for choosing the UFC over KSW. read news >>

Bellator 140: Paul 'Semtex' Daley returns for July 17 scrap against Dennis Olson

  • 29 days ago
  • 1 views

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Strikeforce welterweight slugger Paul Daley makes his return to the Bellator MMA cage when he takes on 170-pound standout Dennis Olson (14-8) on the Sp read news >>

Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley vs. Dennis Olson Added to Bellator 140 Fight Card

  • 29 days ago
  • 3 views

Dynamic British slugger Paul "Semtex" Daley makes his highly anticipated return to the Bellator MMA cage when he meets two-fight Bellator veteran Dennis Olson on July 16. read news >>