Univision Communications said it has acquired a “significant” equity stake in mixed-martial arts franchise Combate Global.
The deal is the latest in a series of moves at Univision since it was acquired by a group led by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis.
In March, Univision announced a five-year media rights deal with Combate Global that would give Univision 30 live television events a year. With an equity stake, Univision will have more incentive to cover and promote MMA.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Univision said the deal includes Combate’s La Jaula Studios and that there are plans underway to create future programming, including non-scripted series and stand-alone properties.
“This investment marks the first step in Univision’s broader strategy to deliver more exciting, live combat sports to our audience,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Sports Enterprises, Univision. “Combat sports rank as the second most popular sport among Hispanics. We’re excited to take our successful partnership to the next level as we collaborate with the Combate team to elevate the brand and bring compelling mixed martial arts content across the Univision platforms for years to come.”
When Davis, now CEO of Univision, was with Viacom, it owned Bellator, another MMA outfit.
Combate Global programming began airing live on Univision in 2018, when the company was known as Combate Americas. Univision said that MMA and combat sports is the second-most popular sport among Hispanic after soccer.
“Since teaming up in 2018 Univision and Combate Global have created an entirely new audience for MMA,” said Combate Global CEO Campbell McLaren. “Today, those content hungry fans, combined with our dynamic athletes, represent the future of the sport. This announcement underscores Univision’s commitment to Hispanic MMA and we could not be more excited to further strengthen our successful partnership with them.”
Combate Global this year is averaging 425,000 total viewers on Univision, making it the highest-rated Spanish-language program in its time slot. Combate’s July 23 event had 543,000 total viewers, its highest since 2018.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.