Thursday, November 18, 2010

Will Shine Fights Become the Next Big Promotion?

When it comes to major mixed martial arts promotions there's mainly three that will likely first come to mind -- the UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator. What do these three organizations have in common? What defines their standing as "major" promotions? Television. All three organizations have contracts, partnerships, and/or business relationships with major media outlets. But, they may soon have to make room for another MMA promotion making plans for a television deal.

Shine Fights looks to become the next MMA show on your home television screen. According to MMAWeekly.com, Shine Fights is in the process of inking a deal with a "recognizable" television network. The promotion's COO Jason Chambers did not identify the network, but did suggest that they intend to model their television plans after the UFC, combining free programming with pay-per-view programming. MMAWeekly.com interviewed Chambers who delivered the following statement:

“For all intensive purposes we’ve come to an agreement,” Chambers said about the new TV deal. “It’s just a matter of dotting the “I”s and crossing the “T”s.”

“It’s definitely a network that everyone will be familiar with. It’s a network that I think is the right size and the right scope for where we are.

“We’ll be announcing in the next few weeks who that television partner is, we have a great relationship with them now. We’re going to give them some free content, that’s one of the things I think the UFC has done exceedingly well. They’ve built their pay-per-view model off of the exposure they got off of Spike TV, and they’re able to leverage their branding.

“What we’re going to be able to do is put some of the amazing fights that we have that wouldn’t necessarily make sense to put on pay-per-view, but they’re still guys with 20, 30 fights, wins over huge names, exciting fighters and you’re going to be able to watch them for free.

“We plan on doing six pay-per-views next year and all of those undercards will be able to be seen live on cable.”

The big question is: Which network will be picking up Shine Fights?

Right now, the existing televised mixed martial arts promotions include:
  • The UFC- currently broadcasts its brand on Viacom's Spike TV Comcast-owned Versus.
  • Bellator- broadcasts its programming through ESPN via ESPN Deportes, NBC's Spanish-speaking entity Telemundo, and Fox Sports Net and its affiliates.
  • Strikeforce- broadcasts exclusively on CBS and CBS' premium cable station Showtime in the U.S., and Canadian cable network Super Channel.
It appears that a good portion of the cable network space is already occupied, but here's a couple guesses at where Shine might fit in:
  • HDNet is probably the best and most obvious fit for Shine Fights. HDNet proudly boasts itself as the cable station with the most MMA programs. Their HDNet Fights program currently carries Canadian-based Maximum Fighting Championships, King of the Cage, and Dream and Sengoku out of Japan. Surely, HDNet could add Shine to it's HDNet fights schedule.
  • The Fight Network out of Toronto could also be the contractor. They picked up Shine's "ATT vs. The World" event last year when the event was rescheduled for a later date. The event was originally set to air on HDNet.
There appears to be little room for a relatively small, green promotion such as Shine Fights as far as big media conglomerates go, but a deal with HDNet or The Fight Network could add another MMA time slot to the week's t.v. schedule, and that's something that most of us will not complain about.

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