Bellator is a new broadcast partner of MMA.
On Friday, Belter president Scott Coker announced that ViacomCBS-owned promotions would now air on the CBS Sports Network, leaving the Paramount network with future cards. The prelims will now air on CBSSports.com as well as YouTube.
The move comes after Viacom and CBS completed a merger in late 2019, which brought the two companies back after splitting in 2006. Earlier, CBS Corporation operated Viacom independently, but now both broadcasting companies have resumed operations, raising the prospect. For network partners new to Belter.
The network also undergoes a change of network with Stephen Espinosa, president of Showtime Sports, in charge of Belther MMA, after restructuring with executives at Viacom CBS.
Coker said that part of the profit-changing network would be all Bellator cards that would be broadcast in real time, regardless of location. Many previous Bellator events are dealt with by time delays with broadcasts on the West Coast, which begin later than the East Coast feeds.
“Viacom’s commitment to mixed martial arts is strong since 2005,” Coker said on Friday. “Now because of the merger we are able to switch to the sports network.”
The switch comes as no surprise after Spike TV was reestablished as Paramount Network in 2018. Since that time, the Paramount Network has shifted its focus mainly to original screenplay and unreleased content such as the hit series “Yellowstone”, which had the highest ratings for any cable program during the summer.
Bellator was the only sports property to have aired on the Paramount network until now.
The CBS Sports Network currently holds broadcasting rights to a number of entities including football and basketball as well as major college sports including the UEFA Champions League, WNBA, Professional Bull Riders, PGA Tour coverage and tennis.
CBS Sports Network is available in far fewer homes than Paramount Network. As of 2015, the CBS Sports Network was available in approximately 61 million homes, while Paramount Network claims availability in over 80 million homes.
The first Bellator card to be broadcast on CBS Sports Network will be on 1 October. The card will air in the United States at 4 pm ET with Paul Daley facing Milan from Italy against Derek Anderson in the main event. The next show will take place from Paris, France on October 10, with Tim Johnson along with head joiner Tim Johnson.
On October 15, Bellator featherweight champion Chris Sieborg will take action against Erlen Blenko with a 9pm ET start time. Finally, October 29 will see the crown of a new Bellator middleweight champion during the reign of welterweight king Douglas Lima who will weigh up to 185 pounds to face Gegard Moussi.