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Bellator's Making First Foray Into Pay-Per-View Market

MMA promotion Bellator announced recently it will hold on Nov. 2 in Long Beach,, Calif., its first pay-per-view event. Bellator Chair & CEO Bjorn Rebney said of the prospects of holding future PPV events, “We don’t have any specific plan right now, but I think what happens on Nov. 2 in Long Beach on pay-per-view is going to be a really good indicator of how quickly we get back into that arena of the game.” Rebney said Bellator is not using a set price for the PPV, instead charging between $35-$45. Rebney: “What we’ve done is gone to the different distribution partners and sat in the meetings -- they have differing parts of the country they believe have differing appetites at different price points, so they asked us for some flexibility.” He added, “The pay-per-view industry is not the cornerstone of our business. The UFC does pay-per-views once and sometimes twice a month. I think they do 15 a year at this point, and that’s the primary driver for their business. That’s not the primary driver for our business.”

He said of Bellator’s traditional tournaments featuring in this or future PPVs, "That’s purely a timing issue. We kick off Sept. 7, and then we’ve got the pay-per-view Nov. 2, so it falls in an area where you’re at the tail end of the semifinals, probably the last week of semifinals, and the beginning of finals.” Rebney: “You could conceivably see a tournament final on the pay-per-view, but it’s literally right at that tipping point. I think we have two more weeks of programming after our pay-per-view in terms of Spike, so if we can get one of the finals on, absolutely.”

Rebney said the promotion’s reality show on Spike, “Fight Master: Bellator MMA,” has “been a good show.” He said, “I think (Exec Producer Bertram van Munster) and the team did a good job on it, there were some very interesting fighters who have the potential to have a good run with Bellator that came out of it.” Rebney said of the future of the show: “My central focus has been this fall season, which I think is the most stacked season we’ve ever done. At some point, probably within the next couple months, (Spike President Kevin Kay) and I are going to have to talk about the future of that show, and what could conceptually come next, but there haven’t been discussions yet.”

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