EXCLUSIVE: ICM Partners has signed Major League Wrestling with an eye toward negotiating new broadcast and streaming deals for the professional wrestling league whose TV rights become available this spring. ICM Partners will also represent MLW’s newly launched MLW Studios, a multi-platform media studio focusing on original scripted and non-scripted programming.
Founded in 2002 by former WWE writer Court Bauer, MLW was dormant between 2004 and 2017. The league has been on the rise since the April 2018 launch of MLW Fusion, a weekly television show on BeIN Sports. At that time, MLW also started a working relationship with Mexican promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.
The MLW agency signing comes amid growing appetite for live sports — and wrestling in particular — among traditional and streaming networks. It comes on the heels of rich rights deals the WWE signed with USA Network (for Raw) and Fox Entertainment (for SmackDown) and the big pact AEW signed with WarnerMedia.
MLW, which relies on realistic storytelling and targets millennial and Latino audiences, currently airs weekly on beIN Sports in English and in Spanish. The league showed growth of over 43% in total viewers from 2018 to 2019, and their weekly hourlong Fusion series reaches over 2.5 million viewers on beIN Sports.
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Based in New York, MLW produces live events and original shoulder programming for television, OTT and digital platforms in English and English and is currently distributed in 14 countries and counting.
“As the only free agent in the wrestling space in 2020, MLW is in a unique position in the television landscape,” said Bauer, creator and CEO, Major League Wrestling. “MLW provides an extraordinary entertainment experience, showcasing some of the sport’s most storied and iconic families, embracing the Mexican lucha libre culture and presenting original content in a 360 manner.
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