CBS to Air Mixed-Martial-Arts Matches from ProElite
Deal Marks First Big Four Broadcast-Network Airing for MMA
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/28/2008 5:32:00 AM
Mixed martial arts is coming to a major network.
CBS said it will carry four live, two-hour events per year in a multiyear deal with ProElite. The specials will be targeted for Saturday nights. The network added that it will be the first time MMA will get a Big Four broadcast-network airing (MyNetworkTV has also aired mixed martial arts from the International Fight League in prime time.)
It is not a time buy by ProElite, a network spokesman said. (With some sports broadcasts, the producers buy time on the network.)
MMA combines a number of fighting styles, including blows and holds.
CBS is looking to draw a younger, upscale audience to Saturday nights, said Kelly Kahl, senior executive vice president of CBS primetime, in announcing the deal. "It's original programming for Saturday night; it's live, creating an event atmosphere; and it's something that hasn't been seen on network television until now."
In addition, the two companies will tag-team for interactive content, including for CBSSports.com. That content could include live streaming of bouts.
CBS-owned cable network Showtime already carries ProElite marital-arts events and will continue to do so, CBS said.
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