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It’s official! Bellator MMA moving to CBS Sports Network beginning Oct. 1 in Milan

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Scott Coker
Scott Coker
Esther Lin

Bellator 245 “Davis vs. Machida 2” and Bellator 246 “Archuleta vs. Mix” take place this weekend (Sept. 11-12) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and after the promotion’s huge doubleheader on Paramount Network, Scott Coker and Co. will step away from their home for the last seven years and head to CBS Sports Network.

“I am thrilled that Bellator live events will be coming to CBS Sports Network beginning on Oct. 1, as well as the unique opportunities the partnership creates across all CBS Sports platforms,” Coker said in today’s release.

The action gets underway with Bellator 247 on Oct. 1 in Milan, Italy, headlined by a welterweight battle between Paul Daley (42-17-2) and Derek Anderson (16-3, 1 NC). CBS Sports Network will televise Bellator events, both domestic and international, live in all U.S. markets, while preliminary matchups will stream on CBSSports.com and Bellator MMA’s YouTube channel.

“CBS Sports is synonymous with iconic sports broadcasting and it is incredible to now have Bellator MMA included in that family. I would like to thank Paramount Network, formerly Spike TV, for the years of support that helped build Bellator into the organization that it is today, and this news marks yet another exciting relationship between two ViacomCBS properties,” Coker said.

One could argue this is a lateral move given that Paramount Network and CBS Sports Network are both part of the ViacomCBS corporate family. The difference in the size of their estimated audience tells another story. Paramount reaches an estimated 80 million homes while CBS Sports reaches 61 million.

Diminishing returns on Viacom’s investment in Bellator may be the reason for the transition. Despite having a Light Heavyweight title defense in the main event, Bellator 244 “Bader vs. Nemkov” was a new low for 2020 on Paramount, averaging 275,000 viewers for the length of the broadcast, with only a 0.09 in the 18-49 demo. The peak audience was one show earlier for “Chandler vs. Henderson” which did 403,000 viewers.

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