Invicta Fighting Championships Inks Deal With Fox Sports Mexico

Invicta Fighting Championships, a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, has announced a five-year partnership with Fox Sports Mexico — broadcasting every MMA Invicta FC event live and in Spanish to its viewers across the country, beginning with Invicta FC 49: Delboni vs. DeCoursey on Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

The upcoming Invicta FC 49 event airs live from Sugar Creek Casino in Hinton, Okla., giving Fox Sports Mexico’s audience a front-row seat as the trailblazing promotion presents a night of world-class all-female action featuring top Mexican athletes Montserrat “The Monster” Rendon and Nadia Vera. Rendon is putting her undefeated streak on the line in a Bantamweight bout vs. “The Quiet Storm” Brittney Cloudy, and Vera vs. Shauna Bannon is a Strawweight battle of the unbeatens.

Invicta FC 49 is headlined by Atomweight Champion Jéssica Delboni from Brazil in her first title defense against “Lionheart” Jillian DeCoursey, and also includes Finland’s Maiju Suotama vs. Brazilian knockout specialist Ketlen “Esquentadinha” Souza in the co-main event; as well as Liz “The Titan” Tracy vs. Valesca “Tina Black” Machado in a Strawweight showdown; and Ultimate Fighter alumnus Helen “Iansã” Peralta vs. UFC veteran Poliana Botelho.

“FOX Sports Mexico is dedicated to showcasing the absolute best sports coverage from across the globe, making Invicta FC the perfect complement to our strong lineup of international offerings,” Cristina Ruiz de Velasco, Fox Sports GM, said in a statement. “Combat sports have always been popular with our audience, and we are proud to offer every live event from the world’s premier all-female MMA promotion through this interesting new partnership. Invicta FC is a true gamechanger in the industry, we cannot wait to share all they have in Mexico and excited for the upcoming Invicta FC 49 airing on Sept. 28.”

“Mexico has long-boasted a large and passionate fanbase of knowledgeable combat sports enthusiasts, and we could not be more pleased to bring our groundbreaking brand of all-female MMA action to them through this landmark partnership with FOX Sports Mexico,” Invicta founder and president Shannon Knapp said in a statement. “Throughout our history, we have proudly showcased top Mexican athletes such as Alexa Grasso, Irene Aldana, Montserrat Ruiz, Karina Rodriguez and Pearl Gonzalez, and Invicta FC 49 continues that legacy with bouts featuring undefeated talents Montserrat Rendon and Nadia Vera. This is just the beginning of what we believe will be a long and successful partnership, and we look forward to presenting our unparalleled athletes, exciting matchups and innovative open scoring on FOX Sports Mexico for many years to come.”

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In addition to airing live on Fox Sports Mexico, Invicta FC 49 will be broadcast on AXS TV in the United States; Fight Network in Canada; NENT Viaplay, Nova TV and Match TV across Europe; Star Times in Africa; and globally on Invicta’s official YouTube Channel and Facebook page, kicking off at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inks Original Content Deal With iHeartMedia

Anthem Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates streaming platforms targeting niche audiences, March 9 announced an original content partnership with audio company iHeartMedia.

Under the multiyear agreement, the companies will collaborate on the co-production of original programming and on the marketing of Anthem’s properties across iHeartMedia’s multi-platform audio network and largest radio broadcaster in the country.

Anthem, which acquired a majority interest in Mark Cuban’s AXS TV in 2019, becomes partners with remaining shareholder Anschutz Entertainment Group while bringing Steve Harvey Global into the company as an investor and advisor on content development.

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Anthem recently announced it had become an investor in PlayersTV, the sports lifestyle digital network being launched by Players Media Group.

“We continue to build key strategic partnerships that expand our reach,” CEO Len Asper said in a statement. “Our new partnership with iHeartMedia gives us access to its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, reaching 9 out of 10 Americans each month through its national network of local radio stations and its ubiquitous digital app, live events, podcasts and other properties.”

Peter Volynsky, EVP of corporate development and ventures for iHeartMedia, said the collaboration underscores the importance combining audio and video entertainment.

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“We are looking forward to collaborating with the Anthem team, offering even more unique and compelling content to our audiences, while also helping them build further awareness and grow their brand through our massive scale and national reach across our powerful multi-platform assets,” Volynsky said.

 

Mark Cuban Sells Majority Stake in AXS TV, HDNet Movies Network

Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” alum Mark Cuban Sept. 9 disclosed he has sold majority stake in AXS TV and HDNet Movies Network to TV personality Steve Harvey and Anthem Sports.

Anthem Sports will assume operating management of the two channels that cater to music, sports, entertainment and lifestyle audiences. The deal also includes AXS TV’s extensive library of owned programming, including wrestling, MMA and entertainment content.

Originally founded as HDNET by Mark Cuban in 2001. The channel was rebranded to AXS TV in 2012 after partnering with AEG, leading to additional music content development.

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The network’s current programming lineup features live concerts and events, music-themed information and reality programming, live wrestling and MMA, and off-network runs of popular music-themed programming. The network is distributed to more than 50 million homes.

AEG includes AXS TV as part of its own sponsorship portfolio, bringing many AEG partners to the network.

HDNet Movies, available in approximately 12 million U.S. homes, features theatrically released films and documentaries presented in high definition, including a variety of iconic classics and award winners spanning the 1950s to 2000s.

The networks add significantly to Anthem’s rapidly growing portfolio of content, which is currently available in 120 countries and includes diverse and popular sports and entertainment programming targeted to passionate communities with a focus on millennial viewers.

“The addition of AXS TV and HDNet Movies will allow for increased content ownership, digital expansion and even more compelling programming for consumers and our distribution partners,” Leonard Asper, CEO of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement.

Cuban and AEG will continue to participate as equity partners, and AEG Global Partnerships, AEG’s advertising and sponsorship sales unit, will continue to support the channels in conjunction with Anthem’s sales team.

Joining as an investor is entertainer, producer and businessman Harvey, who will also enter into a strategic agreement for content development and promotion of Anthem’s portfolio of channels. Steve Harvey Global will have a seat on the board of directors of Anthem.

Anthem’s board of directors will also include Ted Goldthorpe, head of BC Partners Credit, a lead financier on the acquisition; Rick Ehrman, a former senior executive at Univision and NBC Universal; Robert Foster, founder and CEO of Capital Canada; Scott Honour, founding principal of Northern Pacific Group; and Loudon Owen, chairman and CEO of DLT Labs.

“Anthem’s combination of targeted brands, enthusiastic audiences, operational expertise, international footprint and vision makes them an ideal partner to take AXS TV and HDNet Movies to their next levels,”  Cuban said. “Given Anthem’s portfolio of premium content and complementary programming networks, we could not ask for a better home, and we are looking forward to the results we will collectively generate for this new partnership.”

“My team and I see great opportunity in Anthem,” Harvey said. “They have incredible shows, experiential entertainment, and a huge reach. We look forward to collaborating with Anthem on content development that will surprise and delight this newly expanded audience.”

AXS TV and HDNet Movies will continue operating from their existing facilities in Denver and Los Angeles, and the combined company will include Anthem’s playout and production center in Toronto and production facilities in Nashville and Europe.

“Anthem Sports & Entertainment brings a legacy of delivering boundary-breaking programming that perfectly aligns with our programming strategy and global concert venue and music festival assets,” said Charles Hirschhorn, President, AEG TV. “The combination of these television networks with Anthem creates global video destinations for ‘must see’ event programming.”

With this transaction, Anthem channels are now estimated to reach nearly 150 million global TV homes, including more than 110 million MVPD-served TV households in the U.S. and Canada.

In addition, Anthem’s proprietary content is distributed to more than 160 million global TV homes through licensing agreements with some of the world’s premier networks. Anthem’s networks and content also are available on nearly every major streaming service and digital platforms.

Anthem has offices and studios in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles and Nashville, and in Europe. Its portfolio includes:

“Impact Wrestling,” one of the world’s largest wrestling entertainment properties, creating more than 300 hours of original content annually across television and other digital platforms.

The channel specializes in premium content, pay-per-view events, products and merchandise, as well as the management, promotion and training of professional wrestlers.

“Impact Plus,” a multi-platform mobile app and digital subscription video-on-demand platform and one of the newest additions to the Anthem family of services, featuring live monthly premium network specials, instant access to the 3,000-plus hour Impact Wrestling library, groundbreaking original series, reality shows, documentaries, and exclusive events from international partners.

“Fight Network,” the world’s premier combat sports channel, dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports including fights, fight news and the fight lifestyle as well as mixed martial arts, boxing, kickboxing, professional wrestling, traditional martial arts and more.

“Fight Network” produces and owns its own library of fight themed documentaries and interview programs and is delivered to more than 43 million TV homes in the U.S., Canada and more than 15 other countries.

“GameTV,” featuring game show formats and programming, both current and past; reality, drama and documentary series; feature films; sports-based games including esports, poker, and card-based games; and live sporting events – all delivered to more than 8 million television homes throughout Canada.

“GameTV” also features online cash and social gaming through igamestv.com.

Game+, a cutting edge, millennial-targeted sports and entertainment channel, featuring sports-wagering programs, esports events, news and information, fantasy sports programming, high stakes poker, and other action-driven shows and lifestyle programming.

Game+ is distributed in more than 1 million MVPD TV homes in Canada and the U.S.

Pursuit Channel, one of the top outdoor channels in the U.S, offering outdoor enthusiasts diverse programming from calm freshwater fishing to fast-paced deer and waterfowl hunting. Pursuit Channel is available to more than 35 million TV homes in the US served by cable, satellite and IPTV.

Through its app PursuitUP the channel is also available on OTT streaming services.