ProElite Signs Multi-Year TV Deal With HDNet

October 18, 2011

ProElite announced a new multi-fight, multi-year TV deal with HDNet last night during Inside MMA’s live broadcast debut on the network. The first ProElite televised event on HDNet will be “HDNet Fights: ProElite – Big Guns”, taking place at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL on November 5th.

“After watching their first event in Hawaii, I could see ProElite was a great fit for HDNet,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “This upcoming card has the perfect mix of marquee names and an innovative Heavyweight tournament that fight fans won’t want to miss!”

Former UFC Heavyweight Champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski will headline the event in separate bouts in addition to an 8-man Heavyweight tournament to identify the up-and-coming talent among MMA’s heavy hitters.

“Our multi-fight agreement with HDNet elevates the ProElite brand to a national MMA audience with a preeminent broadcast partner,” said Paul Feller, President and CEO of Stratus Media Group and Chairman of ProElite. “This strategic partnership offers new opportunities for corporate sponsors and advertisers looking to reach this passionate and rapidly growing audience of ProElite fans.”

ProElite will soon announce its full fight card, which will include some of Quad Cities favorite fighters and emerging MMA talent. Tickets are now on sale at the iWireless Center box office and on ticketmaster.com.

 

Payout Perspective:

It had been long speculated that ProElite was in heavy talks with HDNet to televise their second event after reviving the ProElite brand earlier this year.  After all, it made complete sense considering that Head of Fight Operations T.J. Thompson has been adamant about signing a TV deal which corresponded to the current stage of the reborn MMA promotion.

If you recall, Strikeforce also signed a similar TV deal with HDNet back in 2008, just before signing their monumental TV deal with Showtime and CBS just a few months later. The deal proved to be key to Strikeforce’s growth, as it catapulted them to the #2 MMA promotion in the U.S. and maintaining that title until being purchased by UFC’s parent company – Zuffa – earlier this year.

The November 5th event will host a prospect HW GP along with Arlovski vs Fulton and Sylvia vs Kraniotakes as the main events.

Promo:

ProElite: Big Guns Card on HDNet:
Tim Sylvia (29-7) vs Andreas Kraniotakes (12-4)
Andrei Arlovski (16-9) vs Travis Fulton (247-48)

HW Grand Prix Portion:
Mark Ellis (1-0) vs Ryan Martinez (5-1)
Richard Odoms (5-0) vs Jason Bosler (3-1)
Jake Heun (1-1) vs Chris Birchler (1-0)
Walt Harris (3-1) vs Esteves Jones (7-2)

 

8 Responses to “ProElite Signs Multi-Year TV Deal With HDNet”

  1. mmaguru on October 18th, 2011 5:02 AM

    Interesting. I wonder why any network would invest in this brand at this point in time. Would make more sense to allow them a few more events to determine if they are even solvent. I wonder if Networks actually request to see the financials? Having Big Tim and AA on the same card is going to cost any promotion. I just don’t think they’ll get anything in return.

  2. Jude on October 18th, 2011 6:01 AM

    You don’t know what you are talking about…stratus owns proelite now and has big bucks… In a recent si.com article, CEO Paul feller said they would likely commit 45-50 million at the promotion initially. Get your facts straight. Guess they are solvent lol

  3. Pitman on October 18th, 2011 6:46 AM

    MMAGuru, if you look a little deeper into the money and business of Proelite you will see while the name remains the same the ego’s are gone and business is in. Stratus seems to have hard earned money and a sense of doing business with organic growth.
    Stratus has brought the much needed structure not only to Proelite but also MMA. Unlike the 99% of todays MMA productions that consist of an office that has four wheels and a iPhone the Proelite team has just that, a team with structure.
    The fit with HDnet is perfect! HDnet has built a solid following with a slow organic growth that is deeply rooted in the MMA industry. I don’t think either Proelite or HDnet is looking for overnight success but more a steady growth that the fans will be able to follow and understand.
    Guys like Tjay, Monty Cox, Andrew Simon and Rich Chou are very respected and not just another group jumping in thinking that MMA is easy.

  4. Pitman on October 18th, 2011 6:52 AM

    As far as Tim Silvia costing a lot of money I disagree. I don’t think there are a lot of productions knocking down his door that have the money to allow him to leverage. For Proelite, it puts eyes on the production and the new fighter that comes in and beats Silvia will claim his fame and now the production will be up and going with it’s own nesw breed of fighters.

  5. Diego on October 18th, 2011 12:31 PM

    Pitman,

    You make good points about the HDNet approach to MMA. They have shown themselves willing to invest in MMA as a category, rather than specific promotions/brands. Their segments are called “HDNet Fights” rather than leading with specific promotions.

    I think for them it’s a matter of price. If they can come to terms with a promotion at the right amount, they are willing to show the fights in the interest of being “your home for MMA”. If a promotion folds, or signs a deal with someone else, HDNet will simply replace them. I think HDNet viewers will tune in to the HDNet Fight segments regardless of whether it’s Shark, XFC, Titan or ProElite. If a promotion wants to separate itself from the pack, it is up to them to do so by the quality of their events.

    I imagine the folks at HDNet know how much they can pay ProElite and aren’t overpaying for the rights. If ProElite can generate some momentum, maybe in the future they can renegotiate. Or move to Showtime. Or maybe Hershman will take them to HBO.

  6. mmaguru on October 19th, 2011 4:10 PM

    Thanks for the update Pitman. Those guys are solid MMA promoters but even Monte Cox has lost money in the past. There just isn’t enough interest in MMA right now to fund a second Organization with big name fighters. Let’s wait and see the payroll on this event then we can come back and discuss the financials.

    Jude, I’ve been following MMA for a long time and I assure you that Pro-Elite will be just another name on Dana’s tombstone, big money backing or not, just give it time.

  7. boomchoom on October 20th, 2011 11:37 AM

    Have to agree that this is a great strategic fit. HDNet will be willing to invest in the slow-build necessary, and the branding under ‘HDNet Fights’ (a known brand) helps tremendously.

    This is night and day from last time around. I worked closely with PE in their previous incarnation, and they had an absolutely wrong-headed approach. Management oversold ProElite’s non-existent brand recognition (billing themselves as the #2 brand in MMA … which at the time was a long-shot) to CBS and Showtime who felt they were buying a valuable brand. Management at CBS had no idea what they were buying in to.

    Conversely, HDNet knows this business and knows how to build PE. They might actually have a chance this time around.

  8. Ron Rio on December 7th, 2011 6:53 PM

    What needs to be asked is what HD NET is really paying for any of these events. Does anyone really know? If its strictly the production part of the show to build exposure to your promotion which has been Bellators model for years until they were finally bought out maybe thats what Pro Elite is doing. Has anyone seen the contract because any of HDNETS added MMA promotions programming never mentions any dollar amount.

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