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

Sean Grande replaces veteran Bellator brodcaster Sean Wheelock

  • 22 days ago
  • 2 views

Bellator has its first major change in the broadcast booth since the fight promotion introduced Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith in 2010.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Sean Grande not worried about being 'the new guy' in Bellator's broadcast booth

  • 18 days ago
  • 0 views

Sean Grande has an inkling what he'll be up against when he makes his debut as Bellator MMA's play-by-play announcer on Friday night. Grande knows the man he's replacing, Sean Wheelock, was familiar read news >>

Bellator 140: Sean Grande in, Sean Wheelock out of Bellator MMA broadcast booth

  • 17 days ago
  • 9 views

Long-time Bellator MMA viewers may be surprised -- or even shocked -- when they tune in for Bellator 140: "Lima vs. Koreshkov" this Friday night (July 17, 2015) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Co read news >>

Ahead of debut Bellator broadcast, Sean Grande has a message for potential critics

  • 14 days ago
  • 2 views

Sean Grande makes his debut in the Bellator broadcast booth tonight with Bellator 139. The veteran broadcaster has penned a column for MMAjunkie discussing his transition and what MMA fans can expect read news >>

Bellator champ Pitbull: I'd beat Jose Aldo, Analyze our skills, not where we're fighting

  • 25 days ago
  • 4 views

The best featherweight outside the UFC is confident in beating the world's top fighters of his weight class. Conor McGregor is obviously not the only top-featherweight that is firing shots in the dir read news >>

2015 HOF Profile - Jeff Blatnick

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

Brought in as a color commentator for UFC 4 in 1994, Jeff Blatnick could have just gone through the motions for the broadcast of the fledgling sport, but that just wasn’t his style. read news >>

You serious? Bellator's Patricio 'Pitbull' Freire 'positive' he can beat UFC's Jose Aldo

  • 26 days ago
  • 8 views

Just like Conor McGregor, though, he won't be getting that chance any time soon ... albeit for different reasons. Jose Aldo has no shortage of people who want to beat him up. It's hardly surprising g read news >>

Bellator champ Patricio Freire ‘positive’ he’d beat Jose Aldo: ‘No one can break me’

  • 27 days ago
  • 22 views

Patricio Freire successfully defended his Bellator featherweight title with a second-round finish over Daniel Weichel last Friday at Bellator 138, and being able to coming back from a tough first rou read news >>

Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull: 'I'm positive I'd beat Aldo'

  • 27 days ago
  • 2 views

Bellator MMA featherweight champion Patricio Freire talks about his thrilling win over Daniel Weichel, and how he'd match up against UFC fighters. There is a Brazilian MMA featherweight champion who read news >>

Bellator champ Douglas Lima open to kickboxing fight with Paul Daley at Dynamite

  • 28 days ago
  • 5 views

After taking a year off due to injuries, Douglas Lima wants to take back-to-back fights. Lima returns to the Bellator cage on July 17 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, putting his welterweight read news >>