What: Combate Americas continues its ascent in the mixed martial arts world with new deals, programming increased audience.
Why it matters: The Latino MMA franchise and media company has mixed reality TV programming, live events and mobile content to find bigger numbers in the second half of 2018 than ever before.

The fighting space has never seen more engagement, or more buzz, than in the past year. From traditional networks like FOX (@FOXTVand NBC (@nbcupping their interest with promotions like Pro Fight League (@ProFightLeague), to ESPN’s UFC (@ufcpartnership to the continued work Bellator (@BellatorMMAis doing with Paramount Network (@paramountnet) (and now DAZN) to streaming and pay per view, those getting in the ring and the cage are certainly finding new and engaged audiences.

One that continues to fight through the choices, especially with a Latino audience, is Combate Americas (@combateamericas). The Latino MMA franchise and media company has mixed reality TV programming, live events and mobile content to find bigger numbers in the second half of 2018 than ever before.

On our platform, you have the opportunity to see some of the sport’s best, new athletes proudly representing their respective countries against each other.

Case in point was their recent Copa Combate show, which averaged 451,000 total viewers on Univision (@Univisionand Univision Deportes Network (@UnivisionSports) at 12 am ET on Friday, December 7.  Viewership was up over 60 percent from last year’s Copa Combate viewership of 280,000 on Telemundo in the same time slot and beat Telemundo’s boxing program on the same night, in the same time slot (start time was 11:35 pm ET) by over 50,000 viewers.

When comparing these figures to general market sports programming ratings in the same time slot on the same night, Copa Combate was second to only ESPN, beating FOX Sports 1, NFL Network and others. Viewership beat that of Bellator 209 on Paramount on Nov. 17 by 70,000 as well, giving Combate a nice leg up and a solid “one to watch” as 2019 rolls around.

How have things been on the upswing? We asked Campbell McLaren, CEO of Combate Americas.

Join us at PORTADA LOS ANGELES on March 15, 2019 at the Loews Beach Hotel Santa Monica, where we will dive deep into sports and soccer marketing’s preeminent topics. Felix Palau, VP Marketing, Heineken will discuss “How to measure ROI and transfer best practices between sports marketing platforms”. Other speaking engagements include Tiago Pinto, Global Marketing Director, Gatorade who will provide answers to the question: “Will Corporate America jump on the soccer opportunity?”Attendees will also be able to benefit from Portada’s meet-up service of three-eight-minute meetings with top brand executives!

Portada: How has Combate grown audience…what is the difference maker?

Campbell McLaren

Campbell McLaren: Combate Americas uses a soccer model – country versus country, like World Cup and the most classic soccer rivalries – as a major point of difference.  On our platform, you have the opportunity to see some of the sport’s best, new athletes proudly representing their respective countries against each other.

Our “Copa Combate” one-night tournament is essentially our World Cup competition, filled with national pride and excitement, and has been extremely effective attracting superfanaticos to our brand.  We went a step further at this year’s tournament, unveiling a 5-foot tall, gold ‘Copa,’ the largest winner’s trophy in sports.

We also expanded our TV programming dramatically in 2018, with a new, multi-platform deal with Univision that included premium-level shows airing live on both Univision and Univision Deportes Network (UDN), and weekly programming on UDN.

Combate Americas also opened its own multi-media studio, La Jaula Studios, which has been responsible for producing original, digital and linear content geared towards educating our target audience about our brand, live events and athletes and giving a reason for both new fans and avid fans to care about our talent and our shows.

Portada: What brands have migrated to the shows?

CM: This year, we secured national partnerships with AT&T Cricket Wireless (@Cricketnation), Monster Energy Drink (@MonsterEnergy), Warner Bros Studios (Aquaman @aquamanmovie) and Acronym (@anotheracronym), on behalf of the digital agency’s “Knock The Vote” campaign to drive voter participation from Hispanic millennials in the U.S.

Portada: How has Combate found a way to reach the Latino audience and what can be done to grow that audience in 2019? 

CM: We have created a product that is authentically Hispanic, and embraces key elements of Hispanic culture, beginning with a country versus country format in our events that is easily recognizable and has long been embraced by fans of soccer, the number one sport with Hispanic fans.

Our live events mix MMA competition with other, popular forms of Hispanic entertainment, including live music, such as mariachi band performances and ROC Nation Mexican recording artist Victoria La Mala (@lamalasinging the U.S. national anthem; our “La Jaula dancers;” and appearances by some of the biggest Lucha Libre stars, all of which enhance the fan experience beyond a typical live sporting event.

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Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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