Redbox Adds MMA Fighting to Live TV Streaming Platform

Redbox Aug. 30 announced the addition of Anthem Sports & Entertainment’s AXS TV Now and Fight Network to its ad-supported live-TV streaming platform. Redbox Free Live TV previously carried Anthem’s Impact Wrestling channel.

Fight Network is the premier destination for 24/7 combat sports coverage, unleashing more than 300 hours of hard-hitting live fights from top promoters across the globe. Additionally, Fight Network presents a diverse slate of critically acclaimed original programs including Retrospective, Diary, In 60, Fight Network Recharged and After The Fight, as well as an impressive roster of classic fights and compilations.

“Anthem Sports & Entertainment has a wealth of great content that is perfect for our Redbox streaming audience,” Chris Yates, GM of Redbox On Demand, said in a statement. “We’ve already seen success with the Impact Wrestling Channel, and we know Fight Network and AXS TV Now will also be well received by our viewers.”

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Launched in early 2020 with about 30 channels, Redbox Free Live TV is aiming to add 10 channels to the service monthly.

“The expansion of Redbox into live streaming television builds on the company’s commitment to being the go-to entertainment destination for consumers wanting choice and amazing value,” CEO Galen Smith said earlier this year.

‘Impact Wrestling’ Gets Euro Expansion on Pluto TV

WWE competitor Impact Wrestling is getting expanded distribution in Europe through a new AVOD deal with Pluto TV.

A subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inc., Impact aims to expand its brand of professional wrestling content across the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The move comes as a continuation of Impact’s partnership with Pluto TV, which kicked off in April 2018 with the U.S. launch on the Fox Entertainment ad-supported streaming television service.

Pro wrestling has always had a niche following. The sport upped its profile after NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service became the official SVD/AVOD home for WWE events.

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Pluto TV users throughout Europe will have access to almost two decades of new and classic content, including sport icons such as Ric Flair, Sting, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and AJ Styles; as well as Impact’s current roster of grapplers, which includes Rich Swann, The Good Brothers, former NFL player Moose, Deonna Purrazzo, Sami Callihan, Eddie Edwards, Jordynne Grace, Eric Young and Chris Bey.

“The global demand for quality professional wrestling programming has, arguably, never been higher, and we are excited for the opportunity to provide millions of pro wrestling fans both old and new with the ultimate ringside seats to all the epic matchups, original series,” said Jaime Pollack, chief revenue officer, sports media group, which includes Impact Wrestling.

Impact programming is televised globally in 120 countries including AXS TV in the U.S., as well as on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms.

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Streams ‘Impact Wrestling’ in Russia

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Oct. 1 announced a partnership with Rutube.List — Russia’s largest ad-supported digital platform — to begin streaming Anthem’s combat sports platform, Fight Network, and pro wrestling promotion Impact Wrestling to the video service.

Fight Network and Impact Wrestling programming will launch in a VOD-style format, presented in both English and Russian. Rutube.List claims 10 million viewers throughout Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which includes Armenia, Belarus, Moldova and Kazakhstan, among others.

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Fight Network features more than 300 hours of live sports, in addition to original programs such as “Retrospective,” “Diary,” “In 60” and “After The Fight,” as well as a roster of classic fights and compilations, and series such as “Boxing World Weekly,” “Total Combat,” “International Judo Federation” and “Impact Wrestling.”

Launched in 2002 as a rival to WWE, Impact Wrestling is set to deliver its biggest event of the year next month, when “Bound For Glory” comes to Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 24. The global pay-per-view event is available through FITE TV (order now), Box Nation UK, DISH, DirecTV, Vubiquity, Rogers, Bell, Shaw and Sasktel. Also, it is available on InDemand platforms, including Altice, Cox, Spectrum, Verizon Fios and Comcast Xfinity.

“Russia is a true powerhouse for combat sports, bringing the world some of the top fighters in the business and boasting an impressive base of passionate and knowledgeable fans,” Jaime Pollack, chief revenue officer, Fight Media Group, said in a statement.

Roman Maksimov, CEO of Rutube.List, said the Fight Network channel’s portfolio of  classic wrestling matches, main-event fights include authentic analysis.

“The best and critical moments of combat events and comments come from athletes and experts,” Maksimov said.

Anthem Sports & Entertainment’s Fight Network Inks Wider Distribution in Middle East

Anthem Sports & Entertainment’s Fight Network combat sports streaming channel has signed an expanded distribution agreement with SAWA Rights Management for the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.

Anthem, which recently acquired AXS TV and HDNet Movies from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, will now deliver Impact Wrestling, KSW and Fight Nights Global, Combate Americas and World Lethwei Championship across the MENA market. Fight Network previously had distribution on DU, an over-the-top video platform in Dubai UAE.

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“Combat sports have enjoyed a significant increase in popularity with viewers around the world, cementing the medium as a true global phenomenon,” Ariel Shnerer, GM of Fight Network, said in a statement.

Fight Network features more than 300 hours of live fights from promoters across the globe. The channel also offers original programming, documentary features and unscripted series. Fight shows include “Retrospective,” “Diary,” “In 60” and “After The Fight,” as well as a roster of classic fights and compilations, and events such as “Boxing World Weekly,” “Total Combat” and “Impact Wrestling,” a professional wrestling competitor to WWE.

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Jaime Pollack Named Chief Revenue Officer for Fight Media Group

Anthem Sports & Entertainment June 25 named longtime video game/pro wrestling executive Jaime Pollack as chief revenue officer for Fight Media Group. In this newly created position, Pollack will oversee all revenue generation for Fight Media, which includes Fight Network and IMPACT Wrestling promotion. Pollack will report directly to Ed Nordholm, president of Fight Media Group and chief corporate officer for Anthem. He joins Anthem on July 1 and will be based in Los Angeles.

“Jaime truly has a wide breadth of experience in all facets of the sports spectrum — from the cutting-edge realm of esports to the most popular mixed martial arts promotion in the world,” Nordholm said in a statement. “He brings an incredible pedigree to the table, having forged worldwide success with major brands such as the UFC and Activision Blizzard. This unique skill set could not be more relevant today and, as Fight Media Group continues to grow and expand, his unparalleled expertise and diverse network of connections in these arenas will accelerate our revenue growth.”

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Prior to joining Anthem, Pollack served as VP of media and business development at Activision Blizzard. He was directly responsible for esports media and distribution around the launches of the Overwatch and Call of Duty Leagues, including negotiating the first major e-sports digital streaming deal on Amazon’s Twitch platform, securing esports linear television broadcast partnerships with ABC, Disney XD and ESPN, and creating new cross-Atlantic media distribution in key European and Asian markets.

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Jaime Pollack

Prior to Activision Blizzard, Pollack held several different high-level positions with the MMA powerhouse UFC for over a decade. As SVP, global content and GM of Latin America, Pollack helped take UFC from a domestic fight promoter to a mainstream multi-billion-dollar global sports property. He spearheaded the UFC’s landmark launch in Brazil and helped rapidly expand the organization across Latin America. Under his direction, UFC launched UFC Network, conducted major live worldwide-televised events, created platforms for blue-chip sponsors, and developed local fighter talent. Pollack also drove production of the first international seasons of the reality series “The Ultimate Fighter,” leading to successful ratings, brand awareness, business growth and mainstream embracing of MMA on television. Additionally, he served as president of Pride Fighting Championship in Japan after UFC’s takeover, and he has established dozens of other major media, marketing and brand partnerships globally. Prior to joining the UFC, Pollack was a media attorney at NBCUniversal Television Group.

National Cable Television Cooperative Renews Distribution Deal for AXS TV and HDNet Movies

The National Cable Television Cooperative — representing more than 750 mid-sized and small independent cable and broadband operators throughout the country — April 28 announced finalizing a multiyear renewal agreement to offer AXS TV and HDNet Movies to its member companies.

AXS TV and HDNet Movies were started by Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban, who then sold the properties to Anthem Sports & Entertainment.

AXS TV specializes in music content, concert events, documentaries and profiles. Original programs include “The Big Interview With Dan Rather,” “Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar,” “The Top Ten Revealed,” and  “Live From Daryl’s House” starring Daryl Hall. The network also streams combat sports content such as “Impact Wrestling” and Mixed Martial Arts competitions.

AXS TV recently launched the new “At Home & Social” initiative in support of families, small businesses, healthcare professionals and many others who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The series gives artists and entertainers a platform to broadcast exclusive live performances from their homes and studios directly to their fans.

Highlights include performances by Dave Matthews, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Luke Bryan and Ryan Tedder, among others associated with Verizon’s “Pay It Forward” live series, as well as the special event “At Home With Farm Aid” featuring Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Matthews, that raised more than $500,000 for family farmers.

HDNet Movies features award-winning catalog classics, blockbusters and modern favorites from the 1980s to today. The network also presents a wide variety of themed blocks featuring Oscar winners, A-List lineups, celebrity birthdays, special events hosted by notable actors, artists, and experts from across the film industry.

“This important agreement presents us with a valuable opportunity to bring AXS TV and HDNET Movies’ exclusive content to more viewers across the country,” Randy Brown, SVP of distribution for Anthem, said in a statement.

Judy Meyka, EVP, of programming, NCTC., said the cooperative was “excited” to build on the Anthem partnership.