After Bellator’s ESPN Desportes TV deal wasn’t renewed for some reason, I figured that would be the end of the upstart company. Which was really too bad because it seemed like the people behind it knew what they were doing – or at least knew more than most people who come out of nowhere to start up a fight league. But now some good news:
Bellator’s second season will launch April 8th, 2010, with 12 weekly live events that will air Thursday nights on FOX Sports Net and its regional sports network affliliates (reach: 82 million homes). Every subsequent Saturday night, a 30-minute highlight show will be broadcast on NBC (112 million homes), and an hour-long package will air on Telemundo (62 million homes). The deal also includes a third 12-week season that is slated to begin on August 12th. Both seasons are expected to follow the multi-tournament format established in Bellator’s first season, which crowned Joe Soto, Eddie Alvarez, Lyman Good and Hector Lombard the promotion’s champions.
The promotion’s biggest problem before – past being limited to viewers with ESPN Desportes – was how events weren’t shown live. And Bellator’s 2AM Saturday night recap show replaces the old Strikeforce recap show on NBC that the network dropped quietly when Strikeforce teamed up with Showtime and CBS. Those shows used to pull between .5 and 1.1 ratings despite the godawful time slot, although I do kinda wonder how many of those viewers had just fallen asleep with the TV on.