Sunday, February 19, 2012
Devil’s Advocate (part two)
The UFC putting flyweights on FX is poor decision – This one came from a website which usually has great opinion columns, but I couldn’t disagree more with this one. The argument centered around the UFC putting the flyweights on an FX card rather than a pay-per-view card. The author argued that they would get more exposure and credibility if they were featured on a pay-per-view card instead. Here’s why I disagree. While it’s true that getting a main card slot on PPV card is an instant credibility boost, it’ll be hard to gain exposure if no one watches. Cruz vs. Faber II was one of the best fights of 2011, but only 350,000 people cared to buy it. The fact is that not a lot of people know who these guys in the lower weights are yet. People won’t buy it if they don’t know what it is.
So, how do you get them to buy it? Give them a free sample. People like free. Even if it doesn’t have the biggest names on the card, more people are likely to watch fights on FX simply because they won’t have to pay for them. If the fights turn out to be as exciting as they should be, people will take notice. That way, when the flyweights finally do transition to PPV, people will say: “Oh yeah, I saw that guy in a war on TV, I’d definitely pay to see him again.” In my mind, it’s a win-win situation.
Putting UFC on Fuel TV is a smart move – While it may be true in the long run, it may not be now. Remember how I said people like free? Fuel TV is a part of a more expensive package on most television providers, and some regions (like the one I’m currently in) don’t even offer it. Even if I wanted to pony up the money and get it, I can’t. Just look at the numbers. UFC on Fuel TV 1 = about 217,000 viewers. Spike TV’s counterprogramming of old Diego Sanchez fights = about 674,000 viewers. Spike TV is just more accessible right now, and if the trend of counterprogramming continues, Fuel may lose the battle every single time.
Also, another thing going against them: the internet. Smart hardcore fans will likely find a live stream of the fight or streaming videos of the fights with just one Google search. Why go through the hassle of getting more channels when you can just stream it? Do I want to see Fuel become the home of the UFC? Yes, that would absolutely be great, but they’re going to need to do more to convince casual fans to get on board. I think what they need to do is put on a big time fight with some big time names in it to really draw attention to Fuel. Then, once fans start clamoring to see those big fights, Fuel TV will be in higher demand. Don’t let fans think cards on Fuel are second rate and have no meaning; show them fights on Fuel are just as important as the ones on FX, Fox, and pay-per-view. Bigger fights = bigger success for the UFC on Fuel.