UPDATE: HD-Net Making Moves
There are times when I just want to shout: “Right on, Marc Cuban!”
Those times rarely have anything to do with the Dallas Mavericks but usually have everything to do with HD-Net, his channel and it’s drive to be the “Home for MMA.”
With the UFC on Fox deal pushing MMA right to the front of the line for sports viewers’ attention, without which I’m convinced Viacom wouldn’t have bought Bellator in a move to hold onto it’s segment of the MMA-viewing public, Mixed Martial Arts looks to have a very bright future. I wouldn’t be too surprised to find out that The History Channel is about to begin broadcasting Pancrase!
Through it all, HD-Net has been there. HD-Net has broadcast more MMA bouts from more promotions than any other network (clip shows notwithstanding). And it’s been making moves.
Coming on the heels of it’s deal to broadcast Maximum Fighting Championship events, HD-Net is now the cable channel for ProElite fights. Moving it’s “Inside MMA” to a live Monday night format (rebroadcast in it’s old timeslot on Friday between “HD-Net Fights”) makes a lot of sense, as hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten are able to make news with more timely interviews, commenting on events happening over the weekend without the previous five-day lag.
Add in the great interview series “The Voice Vs,” Friday MMA events from various promotions, broadcasting live late-night Dream bouts from Japan, legacy broadcasts of events by Affliction and others, their features on fighters and fight camps and you’ve got quite a home for MMA.
Of course, the strategy here is to lock down as much MMA as possible to ensure that there’s plenty of bouts for it’s weekly Friday fights. With the UFC on Fox and Bellator moving to Spike, MMA’s increased visibility with key demographics (and let’s not kid ourselves, the MMA fan market segment is a very attractive one with advertisers) would naturally lead other networks (ESPN for example) to pursue exclusive contracts with top-tier promotions, or attempt to take a lower level promotion up in production value. It is a very interesting time to be an MMA fan!
UPDATE: You can add BAMMA (UK) to the list: HD-Net will be airing BAMMA 8 on Saturday, December 10th which will be the first of several events that it will air from the British MMA promotion, which averages about three events a year. BAMMA 8 will air at 4 pm ET/1 pm PT and re-air the same day at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT.
HD-Net is making aggressive moves to assure it’s place in the MMA realm.