MMA promotion Combate Global (formerly Combate Americas) has been drawing large audiences for years, especially on Univision. That led to Univision signing a new five-year broadcasting deal with the promotion in March. And now, Univision has taken an equity stake in Combate Global. Here’s more on that from a release:
Combate Global, LLC and Univision Communications Inc., the leading Spanish-language media and content company in the U.S., today announced that Univision has acquired a significant equity stake in the premier Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise. The agreement goes into effect immediately.
The transaction formally aligns Combate Global’s world-class talent and deep connection to the MMA community with Univision’s promotional and production capabilities, positioning the fight organization for international expansion. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the companies’ recent five-year media rights deal that features 30 live television events airing annually – a total of 150 events – many of which will take place live from Univision’s studios in Miami, Florida.
“Since teaming up in 2018 Univision and Combate Global have created an entirely new audience for MMA. 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,” said Combate Global CEO Campbell McLaren.
“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.”
Univision was already tied to Combate Global with that five-year rights deal, but it’s definitely notable to see them strengthening those ties with an equity investment. That’s also a bet that they can make the promotion even bigger than it currently is. And that’s not just about live fights; the deal also includes a stake in Combate’s La Jaula Studios, and Univision will have first-look rights at Combate-created content. They’re already working on non-scripted series and standalone properties. The deal also will see Combate coverage and highlights featured across TUDN’s linear and digital channels.
But it’s the fights that really bring in the numbers, and those numbers are in pretty good shape already. The release notes that Combate Global broadcasts on Univision have averaged 425,000 viewers in 2021 to date and pulled in 543,000 (their second-highest audience ever, and highest since 2018) for their July 23 broadcast. That’s pretty impressive, and shows further growth from where the promotion has been. It will be interesting to see if Univision’s equity investment can take them higher still.