Described as a nine-figure transaction, the new deal will see 15 fights simulcast on Viacom’s Paramount Network as well as on DAZN. Seven more exclusive cards a year will be created just for DAZN, which streams sporting events in Germany, Austria, Japan and other countries. DAZN plans to launch in the U.S. in September.
The partnership “speaks to the incredible growth of Bellator into a global sports powerhouse and highly valued franchise in the Viacom portfolio,” said Kevin Kay, president of Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT.
Bellator president Scott Coker called it a “game-changer,” an investment that will “enable us to continue expanding our roster with free agents who make sense.” DAZN chief James Rushton said that between Bellator and a recently announced plan to stream 30 nights a year of boxing, “DAZN will be a must-have for fight fans in the U.S.”
Kicking off the new relationship will be a fight event on September 29 in San Jose.
The deal follows the $1.8 billion grab of UFC rights by ESPN for both linear and streaming, which will see the WME-owned circuit change homes next January after seven years on Fox. While ratings for the UFC have fallen well below their peak levels of a few years ago, the mixed-martial-arts bouts that it features, along with Bellator, still draw a concentrated audience of young males, a plus with many advertisers.