SBJ/March 5 - 11, 2007/This Weeks News

IFL sells global series rights, adds vet execs

Just two weeks before its broadcast network debut, the International Fight League has sold the international rights to its “IFL Battleground” series to Alfred Haber Distribution and hired three industry veterans to oversee its television ventures.

“IFL Battleground” is scheduled to debut March 12 on MyNetworkTV.

Also included in the package sold are the rights to the “IFL Fight Night” series that airs on Fox Sports Net.

The IFL is hoping that the multiyear, incentive-laden deal will wind up putting more than $1 million in the league’s coffers, especially given the popularity of mixed martial arts in areas such as Asia.

Alfred Haber paid an undisclosed sum to get the rights and sell the series to broadcasters in every international market except Latin America and the Middle East. The international package includes 22 hourlong episodes of “IFL Fight Night” and 22 two-hour-long episodes of “IFL Battleground.”

Alfred Haber also holds the international rights to the Grammy Awards and the Golden Globes.

As for the staff additions, the IFL has hired former Showtime executive Jay Larkin as executive producer, Craig Janoff as director and Darren Ewing as documentary director.

Larkin spent 22 years at Showtime before leaving in November 2005 as a casualty of budget cuts. He rose from being a junior publicist to running Showtime’s boxing department.

Janoff made his name as the director of “Monday Night Football” for 13 years. He was shown the door in 2000, along with commentator Boomer Esiason and producer Ken Wolfe.

Ewing is best known for directing reality series such as MTV’s “The Osbournes.”

The IFL is moving its video production from Las Vegas to New York City. Ewing will be based in Los Angeles, where the IFL will have a production office. Larkin and Janoff will be based in New York.

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