Bellator has come under intense scrutiny from its most passionate fans because many of its fights are shown tape-delayed on the Paramount Network. That problem will end soon with the announcement of a partnership with DAZN, a London-based live sports streaming service, which is investing heavily in combat sports.
DAZN is a property of the Perform Group, who recently named ex-ESPN president John Skipper as its executive chairman. DAZN previously announced a multi-year deal with Matchroom Sports to stream live boxing on its service.
The deal with Bellator was announced in a news release as a multi-year deal worth “nine figures.” DAZN will get seven events exclusive to its streaming service and share another 15 with the Paramount Network. Those 15 will be streamed live on DAZN, even if they’re tape-delayed on the Paramount Network.
“The exciting new partnership is a game-changer for Bellator,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement. “The investment will enable us to continue expanding our roster with free agents that make sense, so we can put on PPV-worthy fight cards that fans want to see. Plus, on DAZN’s worldwide platform, our fights will be seen live for the first time to new audiences around the globe.”
DAZN is expected to become available in the U.S. late next month and in Italy in sometime in 2018. It is already available in Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.
The Bellator-DAZN deal kicks off on Sept. 29 with a show from the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., which features middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi defending his belt against welterweight champion Rory MacDonald and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson against Wanderlei Silva.
“It’s simple: Fans want to see great fighters in competitive fights so we’ve handed the keys to Scott Coker and his venerable team to go out and recruit even more top-level talent to further stack Bellator fight cards and build on their success,” DAZN CEO James Rushton said. “With the combination of this investment and our recent announcement to bring more than 30 nights of boxing to the platform annually, DAZN will be a must-have for fight fans in the U.S.”
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