ProElite’s Official Press Release:
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28 – The CBS Television Network and ProElite, Inc., a Los Angeles-based leading entertainment and media company that produces world class mixed martial arts (MMA) events, today jointly announced a multi-year agreement that will bring one of the fastest growing spectator sports to a major broadcast television network for the first time.
CBS will broadcast four MMA events per year, produced by ProElite’s EliteXC fight division, as two-hour live primetime specials targeted for Saturday nights.
The agreement augments an existing relationship between CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS and CBS.A) and ProElite (PELE.PK), which began broadcasting its EliteXC live MMA events on CBS’s SHOWTIME premium cable network in 2007. EliteXC events will continue to air on SHOWTIME.
Additionally, CBS Interactive and ProElite’s new media division, ProElite.com, will collaborate on generating interactive content for both companies’ platforms, including CBSSports.com. The online offerings could include streaming of events, clips syndicated across the CBS Audience Network, and other enhanced content to build an online community around each CBS broadcast and ProElite event.
“Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and a wildly popular entertainment vehicle for upscale, young adult audiences,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. “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.”
“This is a pivotal moment for the sport of mixed martial arts now that a major television network plans to broadcast live MMA events during primetime hours,” said Douglas DeLuca, Chief Executive Officer of ProElite. “We are delighted to enhance our partnership with CBS to bring American audiences the very best in MMA competition through our EliteXC brand.
“The network television agreement with CBS is an important milestone for ProElite as we continue to implement our growth strategy and develop existing relationships with our international partners.”
“Our world-class fighters and the high production value of our events continue to drive ProElite as a global MMA organization that is fortified by the bedrock foundation of a partnership with CBS,” said Gary Shaw, President of EliteXC. “Broadcasting our events on CBS will instantly engage a new fan base, as well as provide an opportunity for EliteXC to further establish itself as the world’s premier MMA organization.”
The intense nature of the contests and the theatrical elements of its live events have made mixed martial arts one of the fastest growing spectator sports in the United States. Over the last several years, the genre has seen tremendous growth in popularity, especially among the coveted 18-34 demographic.
Mixed martial arts is a sport evolved from a number of ancient combat disciplines including judo, jiu-jitsu, karate, wrestling and kickboxing. World-class athletes engage in hand-to-hand combat in a ring–both caged and traditional–and must adapt their fighting style to fit their opponent. The wide variety of styles and techniques make every event an unpredictable spectacle.