It was announced today that Emmy Award(R)-winning producer Mark Burnett has partnered with visionary film director Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network to create a new sports business in the U.S. featuring high-flying lucha libre wrestling.
The business begins with a weekly one-hour series featuring a new lucha libre league, premiering on El Rey Network the second half of 2014. Burnett’s One Three Media is partnering with the leading lucha libre league in Mexico, Lucha Libre AAA, and FactoryMade Ventures. Also joining, through their interests in Lucha Libre AAA, are Antonio Cue Sanchez-Navarro and Latinoamerica’s largest production group, Alex Garcia’s AG Studios.
In Mexico, lucha libre is hugely successful, rating behind only soccer as the most popular sport on television. “Starting this business with a new television series on a cutting-edge network like El Rey is very exciting,” Burnett said. “And it doesn’t end there. Wrestling is a billion-dollar business in the U.S., and with partners like Robert Rodriguez, Lucha Libre AAA and the rest of our great team, our new lucha libre league will make that market even bigger.”
Robert Rodriguez, El Rey Network’s Founder and Chairman, said: “El Rey Network is all about the unexpected which is why this is the perfect partnership. Our association with Lucha Libre AAA, FactoryMade and Mark Burnett’s One Three Media speaks to our commitment to create content that resonates for a culturally diverse generation – one that expects high impact and excitement from their entertainment programming.”
In addition to launching the weekly series, the new venture is developing monthly and quarterly specials and live pay-per-view lucha libre events, and also pursuing merchandise, licensing and product integration opportunities for the league. Lucha libre marks a return to arena-based sports events for the award-winning Burnett, who previously produced five seasons of the unscripted boxing series “The Contender”. Burnett and One Three are also widely known for programs like “The Voice,” “Survivor” and the hit event miniseries “The Bible.”
The venture has engaged Starlight Runner Entertainment, the NY-based production company, to leverage its transmedia expertise in building an exciting, multi-platform world of heroes, villains and spectacle. “My partner Mark Pensavalle and I have been fans of Lucha Libre since we were kids,” said Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment. “The opportunity to help develop a heroic, fully participative transmedia world that innovates and extends AAA is a dream come true for us.”
In addition to Burnett and One Three Media, El Rey Network’s weekly series will also be executive produced by Rodriguez and by FactoryMade and El Rey co-founders John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa. One Three Media’s chief operating officer Brian Edwards will join the venture’s board with current board members Dorian Roldan from Lucha Libre AAA, Cue Sanchez-Navarro, and Fogelman and Patwa.
About One Three Media
ONE THREE MEDIA is a joint venture between Mark Burnett and Hearst Corporation which produces television, advertising and web content. Five-time Emmy(R) Award winner Mark Burnett has produced over 2,200 hours of television programming that regularly air in over 70 countries worldwide. Burnett and ONE THREE MEDIA’s recent series include Survivor (CBS), The Voice (NBC), The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), Shark Tank (ABC), The Bible (HISTORY), and Trust Me I’m A Game Show Host (TBS). Awards show franchises includes the MTV Movie Awards from 2007 to 2011, and the People’s Choice Awards (CBS) since 2010.
About Lucha Libre AAA
Lucha Libre AAA is a media and entertainment company founded in 1992 by Antonio Pena Herrada and manages the IP of the “AAA” brand and another 250 characters in its league. The company produces Lucha Libre events globally including venues such as Palacio de los Deportes, Arena Monterrey, HP Pavilion, Madison Square Garden, Los Angeles Sports Arena and Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. In addition to working with sponsors such as Corona, Hershey’s, Comex and Holcim, the league has released an animated movie and videogame in the Mexican market. Lucha Libre AAA develops 5 hours of content per week that is aired on three television channels in Mexico: Galavision, Televisa Deportes Network and TVC Deportes.
About FactoryMade Ventures
FactoryMade is an incubator for entertainment businesses and was founded by John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa. The company builds IP-based franchises and production and distribution platforms by leveraging its strong ties to the Hollywood creative community and partnering with global brands and investors. Its ventures include El Rey Network and Tres Pistoleros Studios with Robert Rodriguez and a joint venture with the leading Mexican wrestling league Lucha Libre AAA. In addition to working with corporate partners such as Telefonica and JCP, they previously spearheaded the creation of Hasbro’s film business (Transformers, G.I. Joe, Battleship) and television business (Hasbro TV Studios, the Hub Network with Discovery Communications), and developed retail’s first integrated digital gaming and commerce platform with HSN (HSN Arcade).
About Starlight Runner Entertainment
Starlight Runner Entertainment, Inc. (http://www.starlightrunner.com) is the world’s leading creator and producer of highly successful transmedia franchises, maximizing the value of intellectual properties by preparing them for extension across multiple media platforms. Starlight Runner works with Hollywood studios, video game developers and major brand owners to incubate, develop and produce rich story worlds that quickly reach blockbuster status. Founded in2000 by Jeff Gomez and Mark Pensavalle, the company’s clients include Sony Entertainment (Men in Black 3), Coca-Cola (Happiness Factory), 20th Century Fox (James Cameron’s Avatar), Microsoft (Halo), The Walt Disney Company (Pirates of the Caribbean, Tron Legacy), and Hasbro (Transformers). Starlight Runner is now developing and co-producing all-new intellectual properties designed to leverage all forms of digital and traditional media.
About El Rey Network
El Rey Network, launching December 2013, is a new 24-hour English-language network founded by maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. Curated by Rodriguez and his artistic collective, the network will unite the most culturally diverse generation in history through fearless, badass and original content that awakens the renegade in everyone. The network’s action-packed content is anchored by original signature dramas, feature films, grindhouse genre, cult classic action, horror/sci-fi and next-generation sports. El Rey Network LLC (www.elreynetwork.com) is jointly owned by Robert Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures with a minority stake held by Univision Communications Inc.