FremantleMedia Acquires Int’l TV, Licensing Rights to Bellator


Bellator broadcasts could reach an international audience soon. | Photo: Dave Mandel


Bellator Fighting Championships could soon hit airwaves outside North America, as the Chicago-based promotion’s international television rights have been acquired by a London firm.

FremantleMedia announced Monday that its distribution arm, FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME), has reached an agreement with Bellator and majority stakeholder Viacom, Inc., to exclusively negotiate the fight company’s international TV distribution rights. In addition, FME will manage Bellator’s licensing, digital and ancillary rights for the United States and international markets. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

A subsidiary of top European production company RTL Group, the FremantleMedia Group manages more than 300 properties in 22 countries, totaling nearly 10,000 hours of programming per year. FremantleMedia’s North American division is best known for producing musical reality series such as “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent” and “The X Factor,” and the long-running CBS game show “The Price Is Right.”

“This deal further diversifies FME’s third-party slate and builds on our reputation as experts at identifying and exploiting the potential of emerging brands,” FME Global CEO David Ellender stated in a release. “The sport of mixed martial arts is gaining momentum with fans worldwide, and we can see huge potential for the Bellator brand across all platforms, both in the U.S. and internationally.”

Since launching in April 2009, Bellator has staged 54 events in nearly 20 different states and Canadian provinces, crowning eight champions along the way. The company has also amassed a significant roster of international prospects, many of whom now stand to gain an audience in their home countries.

“The incredible athleticism and intensity exhibited in all of our mixed martial arts tournaments translate into any language,” stated Bellator CEO and founder Bjorn Rebney. “With FME as our partner, we will have the ability to showcase our high-intensity brand of fighting to millions around the globe.”

Viacom, parent company of current Bellator broadcast partner MTV2, recently acquired an undisclosed majority stake in Bellator and announced in late October that the promotion will debut on former UFC home Spike TV in early 2013.

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