Top 10 of 2012: No. 4 Bellator moves to Spike TV
December 30, 2012
MMA Payout’s No. 4 business story of 2012 is Bellator’s announcement that it is moving from MTV2 to Spike TV starting in January 2013.
The move to Spike TV was the worst kept secret as Bellator prelim events have been streaming on Spike.com. Also, Viacom’s investment in Bellator made it likely that it would be moved to a network with more viewers. Spike TV, a Viacom property, seemed like the suitable candidate considering the UFC’s run on the network. It did take advantage of its access to the UFC library to run counterprogramming of UFC fights during live events on FX or Fuel. Recently, it had been running UFC reruns with a Bellator logo in the bottom corner.
Another unique aspect of the Spike-Bellator partnership is that it is granting King Mo Lawal the opportunity to participate in both Bellator and TNA Wrestling.
Ratings for Bellator events on MTV2 have been consistently inconsistent. There have been wild fluctuations from week to week and it’s the hope that a move to Spike TV will bring steady ratings.
There’s great expectations for Bellator in 2013. It is moving off of Fridays to Thursdays where TNA Wrestling will be its lead in. Its revamping its rules to allow for potential championship rematches instead of having fighters go through a tournament. The challenge will be to market its fighters and determining whether it should differentiate itself from the UFC. We will see how it does with it available to more households.