Join Date: May 2007
Location: Las Vegas
Should Strikeforce go Head to Head vs. the UFC? 2 articles
Here's two articles on the same topic, each with different view points.
For the last month or so, Strikeforce has played an extensive game of hide the ball. Or maybe it's more accurate to say Showtime is playing that game. They keep teasing Fedor's next fight without announcing the date, and they're even going as far as leaking several different dates to throw the UFC off. I can't help but think this is enormously counter productive.
If they're really doing a show October 10 with Fedor, that means they're going to give the fight 1 month of publicity. They'd be selling a huge event of theirs short just to avoid the dreaded UFC monster. They're making all this effort, and there's no evidence that counter programming even really hurts UFC competitors. When they did a live event against the first Affliction, Affliction got far more press than it ever would have on its own, and the show blew away industry expectations on PPV by nearly 80%.
Even worse, they're coming off as pathetic and weak. One side has declared war, the other side is trying to hide under shelters while the bombs fall. News flash: the UFC is not going to run out of bombs. What they should do is be proud of their product and put it up against UFC 106 in November. Showtime can easily advertise the fact that you have a simple choice that night: you can pay $50 to see a WWE superstar who doesn't even know how to fight, or you can see the greatest fighter in MMA history on Showtime. Sure it's manipulative, but it's no worse than what Dana's been doing to Fedor for years now.
If they do that, there will be a mountain of press covering the entire Fedor vs. Brock situation, and who is the more legitimate champion. And whose side do you think most reporters are going to come down on? When Dana couldn't stop slamming Affliction, he ended up on the front page of the L.A. Times sports section next to Donald Trump in a big piece focusing on their upcoming battle. Dana can't help himself, he'll go berserk if they do this, and it will drive a ton of publicity for their event.
Further, even though UFC 106 has the potential to do over a million buys, that's still just a million households. That's far less than would watch some big Spike TV show, and you're offering a cheap alternative to their expensive product. The success barometer for Fedor's first fight is probably the 400,000 viewer mark, a level that a press avalanche could push them across.
The other day, someone told me that the war between UFC and Strikeforce felt like a battle between Coca Cola and the lemonade stand your neighbor's daughter runs on Sundays. And thus far I think it's a perfect analogy. Strikeforce's main response has been to cringe and hope for mercy, but this is Dana White, there is no mercy until he destroys his competition. It's about time the people at Strikeforce and Showtime wake up and fight. If they don't, they'll find themselves in a deal room with the UFC in about 2 years signing papers and telling the press they're happy to be working with the UFC.
Michael Rome over at Bloody Elbow thinks it would be a sound business decision for Strikeforce to put Fedor’s debut show head-to-head with UFC 106 on November 21st. You know, the same show that features Brock Lesnar and Tito Ortiz competing on the same card. Before you start googling Rome’s name so you can throw tomatoes at his house, let’s give the guy a chance to lay out his reasoning. From Bloody Elbow:
Rome makes an interesting point with the Affliction example, but his argument still fails. While the fact that the UFC scheduled a show the same night as Day of Reckoning no doubt awarded Affliction some press, I wouldn’t go as far to say that that was the main contributing factor to the show’s success. The show was essentially a hardcore fan’s wet dream at the time, comparable to anything the UFC puts on. As a result, the show was bought by a large audience of hardcore fans, many of whom started following the sport so closely only after the UFC boom of 2005. Sure, the programming war addeed some buzz to the show, but there is also no way of knowing what the numbers would have been had the show not been aired the same night as a UFC event.
…When [the UFC] did a live event against the first Affliction, Affliction got far more press than it ever would have on its own, and the show blew away industry expectations on PPV by nearly 80%.
What they should do is be proud of their product and put it up against UFC 106 in November. Showtime can easily advertise the fact that you have a simple choice that night: you can pay $50 to see a WWE superstar who doesn’t even know how to fight, or you can see the greatest fighter in MMA history on Showtime. Sure it’s manipulative, but it’s no worse than what Dana’s been doing to Fedor for years now.
If they do that, there will be a mountain of press covering the entire Fedor vs. Brock situation, and who is the more legitimate champion. And whose side do you think most reporters are going to come down on?
Strikeforce holding such a landmark show the same night as one of the UFC’s biggest shows of the year is absolutely, positively not a good idea. Drinking a half gallon of whiskey and playing $100 high card for hours on end would probably be a better financial decision. Spending the night roasting marshmallows and money would probably be a better financial decision. Asking Rufus the Stunt Bum for investment advice would probably be a better financial decision. Alright, I’ll stop.
The fact is that the vast majority of MMA fans in this country are essentially UFC fans. On top of that, Lesnar and Ortiz are two of the biggest draws in the history of the organization and the sport. Strikeforce would essentially be cutting out a major portion of their audience by putting the show against UFC 106 as most fans are going to tune in to see the latter.
In short, any potential increase in buzz from the counterprogramming situation will be heavily outweighed by the loss. There are other ways for Strikeforce to market this show — and Fedor specifically — without putting it head-to-head with the big giant that is the UFC.
Interesting points of view. I agree with both to a certain extent. On one hand, I agree with Rome from article #1 that if Strikeforce doesn't grow some balls and go on the offense, they will slowly but surely lose all their big names to the UFC until they are no longer relevant.
On the other hand, article 2 makes a good point that if they put all of their eggs in one basket with a Fedor vs. Brock debate, by having an even directly opposite UFC 106, they run a significant risk of overreaching and seriously hurting their stock. If the UFC crushes them in numbers, which to me seems very likely considering Brock's star power and Fedor's lack of drawing power for casual fans, they will lose a lot of credibility. This might result in them losing their Showtime deal, as well as any future offers of that nature.