Bellator MMA Remedies International Tape-Delay Woes with Five-Year DAZN Streaming Deal

By Matt McNulty Jun 26, 2018

Bellator has signed a landmark streaming deal with DAZN, which according to a release is the “world’s largest dedicated live sports stream service.”

The MMA promotion announced the distribution agreement at Viacom headquarters on Tuesday. DAZN streams 15,000 live events and 100 million hours of sports content globally each year, per the release. Thankfully, that means the tape-delayed international events are a thing of the past. Bellator President Scott Coker revealed the five-year, “nine-figure” deal with DAZN streaming services while flanked by DAZN CEO James Rushton.

“The exciting new partnership with DAZN is a game-changer for Bellator,” Coker said. “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.”

Fight fans have criticized the promotion’s use of tape-delay when airing Bellator events abroad. Often times, those events do underwhelming numbers due to North American fight fans either reading the results prior to the tape-delay or being simply unaware of the fight card in the first place.

Rushton echoed Coker’s sentiments, while adding that the deal will also help Bellator’s acquisition and recruitment of top-level MMA talent.

“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,” 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.”

The DAZN deal will officially launch in the U.S. for Bellator’s upcoming blockbuster card on Sept. 29, which will feature a superfight between middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi and welterweight champion Rory MacDonald as well as a fourth match between rivals Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson.

Under the new partnership, there will be seven events a year streamed exclusively on DAZN. Tape-delayed events that air on Paramount Network will now be available to stream live through DAZN. Price points for DAZN in the United States will be announced later this summer.

Interestingly enough, DAZN already provides streaming services for the UFC as well, with that deal having been signed in 2016.

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