|CITY:||Newport Beach, CA|
Bjorn Rebney is a leading authority on business creation, development and marketing for professional sports businesses, leagues, teams and athletes. For nearly 20 years, the Los Angeles native has been integrally involved in numerous aspects of professional sports as an owner, operator, promoter, producer, lawyer, marketing executive, athlete representative and CEO.
In 2007, Rebney created and developed Bellator MMA. His intent was to construct a nationally and internationally televised mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion where fighters control their own destiny through performance rather than relying on the antiquated, subjective matchmaking system that had ruled the sport since its infancy. The promotion debuted in 2009.
Rebney made his vision reality in early 2009 through the first exclusive MMA Television alliance with any member of the ESPN family of networks, through 12 weekly events broadcast nationwide. Bellator completed its first season in June, 2009 and received glowing reviews from fans and media. SportsIllustrated.com called Bellator “MMA’s success story of the year” in 2009. Bellator launched its second season in April, 2010 with 12 new events broadcast on NBC, FOX Sports Net, Telemundo and Mun2 (reaching the industry’s largest available universe, 305 Million homes weekly) and Bellator’s third season subsequently followed premiering in August 2010. Following the success of Bellator’s third season, Rebney successfully orchestrated the three-year distribution partnership agreement with MTV2 announced in December 2010. In October of 2011, the promotion was purchased by entertainment giant Viacom, and Bellator MMA will now air on MMA industry leader Spike TV.
Earlier in his career, Rebney was founder, president and CEO of Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing (SRLB). In this role, he created and managed all of the company's business ventures, including a multi-year television alliance with ESPN2 and strategic alliances with major corporations, venues and casinos. Under his direction, the company produced and promoted 45 nationally and internationally televised events from half-a-dozen countries throughout the world, reaching a television universe of more than 90 million homes per broadcast. Under Rebney’s leadership, SRLB held exclusive promotional agreements with numerous world-class fighters and promoted the careers of many world champions. During the company’s four-year alliance with ESPN2, SRLB promoted the highest average rated fight programming on ESPN, secured more sellouts than any promotional group and was the sole promotional entity on the network to provide it with sponsor alliances.
Prior to founding SRLB, Rebney was the Director of West Coast Operations for Integrated Sports International. In that role, he created strategic business development and sponsorship procurement programs with corporations such as Citibank, Paramount's Great America, Visa and the U.S. Postal Service for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
He also conceptualized and handled the procurement, negotiation and execution of the 3Com Park Stadium naming-rights agreement with 3Com Corporation in San Francisco, the largest such agreement in U.S history at that time. At the same time, Rebney also created and produced diverse business, marketing and publicity programs for world-renowned athletes such as Oscar De La Hoya, Steve Young and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Prior to receiving his law degree, Rebney was the Director of Operations for Sports Promotion International (SPI). At SPI, he orchestrated international sports tours in which the (former) Soviet Union’s championship basketball and soccer teams competed against top South American, Canadian and American teams.
A California- native, Rebney has spent years as a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation generating financial contributions for the charity. He was a full-scholarship athlete (football) at Ohio University, receiving several scholar athlete awards throughout his collegiate career. He is married with two step children. Bellator airs weekly in over 100 million homes on Spike TV, and can be seen on Spike.com and Bellator.com.