While television broadcast deals have become the meat and potatoes of MMA organization success in the big picture, there are still other facets of the revenue-stream game that go unseen. Take the streaming of preliminary bouts for example: when it comes to Bellator, those fights are streamed on Spike.com (and it’s not a bad stream at all). But according to TheMMAReport.com, not long ago the NBC Sports Network – which airs WSOF main card fights on their broadcast channel – wanted Bellator’s undercard bouts, too.
Sources have told TheMMAReport.com that NBC Sports Network recently reached out to Bellator MMA about broadcasting their preliminary cards for the upcoming tenth season and beyond. In previous Bellator MMA seasons, the preliminary cards have been streamed online at Spike.com.
The NBCSN ended up offering a multi-year deal to Bellator MMA that would pay the California based mixed martial arts organization a rights fee in the millions for the ability to broadcast the Bellator MMA preliminary cards.
However, the two sides were unable to come to an agreement. With the two sides being unable to make a deal, the Bellator MMA preliminary cards will continue to be streamed live on Spike.com for the upcoming tenth season, which will begin on February 28th.
Sure, this is all part of the wheeling and dealing of just one particular aspect of the business, but it does provide some insight into the attitudes of the NBC Sports Networks execs towards brand loyalty and whether or not they care what kind of MMA airs on their channel: they have no brand loyalty toward WSOF, and they don’t care what MMA airs as long as it’s MMA.