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« | Home | »

IFL signs syndication, PPV deal

By Zach Arnold | January 16, 2007

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Broadcasting & Cable: NATPE convention – MyNetworkTV & FSN reach deal with IFL (notice the major development of the IFL going to PPV – which is something that the promotion was adamantly saying they wouldn’t do last year)

Variety has more details on the story.

More stories:

  1. MMA HQ: Sam Hoger vs. Ryoto Machida at UFC 67
  2. Yahoo PR: Xyience announces financing and bolstered executive leadership (there is a big company shake-up)
  3. The Regina Leader-Post: Mike Maurer will retire from MMA
  4. KO Corner: Ricco Rodriguez is boxing
  5. UFC Junkie: Interview with Sean Salmon, Pt. 2

Topics: All Topics, IFL, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 26 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

26 Responses to “IFL signs syndication, PPV deal”

  1. The MMA Critic says:

    The deal isn’t as good as it looks. I did a little research on MyNetwork TV, and the ratings for the channel are absolutely horrible. They even plan infomercials during key television watching hours sometimes. They plan Spanish Soap Opera’s sometimes too. I liken it to PBS. Everybody has it for free. Doesn’t mean people actually watch it.

    And the IFL going to PPV is a bad thing. We already have the UFC, Pride, & Bodog. In September, we will have Showtime. The IFL will soon be on PPV soon as well. There is just too many PPV’s for MMA. The UFC won’t suffer. A few of these other companies will. There is only so many PPV dollars to go around. The market is over saturated.

    I will still try and watch the IFL. I just don’t have high hopes from them being a breakout star and competition for the UFC.

  2. JThue says:

    If this means more televised IFL, yay from me.

  3. robnashville says:

    The mynetworktv deal is all about access. This deal basically puts them in almost every home in america (96% coverage area), something even UFC can’t say. The mynetworktv came about mainly because of the WB/UPN merger. The a lot of the affiliates that got left out of the CW network went with this outfit. The mynetworktv is usually slotted in the lower channels on basic cable, along with your local major network affiliates, so folks will be exposed to the IFL when flipping the dial. I think it is an ingenious move by the IFL.

  4. The Gaijin says:

    The writer of the article on Machida vs. Hoger is pretty ignorant. While I wouldn’t say Machida has been setting the world on fire, to say that he’s done nothing to impress him, when he plastered the hell out of Franklin for his 1st loss, is quite silly.

    Granted he looked pretty disinterested against Tiger White and fought a SERIOUSLY bloated Penn – but the guy’s got a lot of promise.

  5. The MMA Critic says:

    Access is not a big deal. It is how many people you can get to watch the show with a demographic that advertisers are willing to pay for. There are a lot of shows that are on stations like this that do absolutely nothing. Not to mention, we have no clue what time the show will be on.

    And it is often forgotten that the driving force behind the UFC’s popularity was the 1st season of TUF running right after WWE Raw. This is really what helped them out.

    What we have right now is 4 Major Network Stations. The CW is the ugly step child. And MyNetworkTV is like the kid that got beaten by his parents and got left on the side of the road ready to die. Only he survived, but very disabled. MyNetworkTV has 2 main shows, which are “Watch Over Me” and “Wicked Wicked Games.” Has anybody ever really seen the 2 main shows for this station? The previews make them look more cheesy then Daytime TV.

  6. Mr. Roadblock says:

    It’s network TV, moron. The other shows on My Network are complete trash. That is why nobody watches them. When Smackdown and Everybody Hates Chris were on UPN (which is essentially what My Network is without me writing 2 paragraphs explaining the TV business) they did very good ratings.

    Do you watch any other programs on Spike TV besides UFC? I certainly don’t. Except every now and then when they used to put MA movies on Saturday afternoons.

    Brilliant move by IFL. It will allow them to become big time and really find an audience. I wouldn’t expect them to put much if anything at all on PPV. The press release just said that if they do do that FSN will be involved. If UFC announced they had a network TV deal I’m sure you’d have to change your underpants twice.

  7. robnashville says:

    “Access is not a big deal” That is an ignorant statement if i have ever heard it. Your demographic/advertising points are moot if they have no access. Access is vital, the IFL will sink or swim on it’s on merits but having no avenues for widepspread distribution of your product is death. IF access to your customers wasn’t key, then every product on earth wouldn’t being cutting their on throat for shelf space at your local Wal-Mart. Have you ever taken any business courses, UFC Fight Night?

    YOur view of the 4 Major networks is equally myopic. Their are eight channels that every home in the US gets. ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, MyNetwork, the CW, iNetwork/Pax, and PBS. Getting on any of these will put you in front of eyeballs, whether folks realize it or not. You ask if anybody has seen the two big shows that are on MyNetwork? Yep, 95% of the folks that read this (US Audience) have seen these shows, more than likely going from one station to the next. Did they register, probably not. Folks will see the IFL the same way, and i can gaurantee it will register with folks one way or the other. MMA has a way of breaking through the cognitive dissonance. Whether IFL is able to keep folks attention will be the question.

  8. Zach Arnold says:

    Roadblock – send me an e-mail.

  9. The MMA Critic says:

    First, quit the name calling.

    The WWE is a completely different animal that can’t be compared to anything else. They can put their show on any channel, and they devoted fans would follow it. That’s a big difference between that and the IFL trying to obtain a fan base this way.

    I honestly could care less if the UFC got on network TV. In a day when sports are moving away from Network TV and moving towards Cable TV, it isn’t a big deal. Maybe 30 years ago when cable TV wasn’t around. But not now. Track & Field is on CBS or NBC once in a while. Doesn’t mean it is all of a sudden a popular entity.

    Honestly, I probably go over The CW or MyNetworkTV once a month at the most. I check out the first 7 channels, which are CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, PBS, and 2 local access channels. Then I go to the 20’s to check out ESPN and work my way on. Many people’s viewing habits are the same way. They don’t even bother searching through these channels. On most cable providers, 9-22 are the junk channels, and people know this.

    I think you people have a warped vision of what the reality of the sport of MMA is. The UFC is considered “The Sport” to almost all of the casual fans. They will flip through the channels and see this as a “UFC ripoff” on a “garbage channel”. They might watch it for a little bit. And then they will move on. They won’t identify with the IFL the way they do with the UFC. Even to the casual viewer, the level of competition in the IFL looks far inferior to the UFC.

    You can bash me all you want, but this network TV thing is being blown out of proportion. Much better programming has done nothing with even better access. Not to mention that the time slot hasn’t even been mentioned yet. I would be shocked if it isn’t on until at least 11pm, especially considering how stringent the FCC is about “bad” content on the free airwaves.

  10. Mr. Roadblock says:

    I shouldn’t have called you a name. I apologize. That was wrong.

    I still think you’re incorrect about IFL and My Network. This will give IFL shows with a fixed time slot and strong advertising allowing them to build a brand. UFC has superior fighters right now. That’s why I use the College Football/NFL example. The quality of play in the NFL is much higher than in college, all of the athletes are better. But the college game is just as much fun and often times more fun to watch than the NFL. Last years Nat’l Championship game between USC & Texas was much better than the Super Bowl.

  11. The MMA Critic says:

    That’s okay. I’ve been called much worse on the Sherdog forums before.

  12. Ivan Trembow says:

    There are no PPVs currently on the books, this deal just gives FSN the rights to any such PPVs in the future when or if there are any. Specifically, the IFL has said that it would want to do a PPV event if they can do a cross-promotional event with their “champions” against fighters from a different MMA promotion.

  13. Ivan Trembow says:

    PS: By “their champions,” I am referring to the individual champions that the IFL plans to crown in each individual weight class at the end of this season. This will be done via four-man tournaments, with the four entrants in each weight class being the fighters with the best regular season record in the team meets.

    So, the aforementioned cross-promotional event would be a late 2007 thing at the absolute earliest, and it would certainly not be with the UFC, WEC, or any other Zuffa-owned MMA promotion. A cross-promotional event with Strikeforce or EXC would be much more feasible.

  14. GassedOut says:

    The College/Pro Football analogy is interesting, Roadblock. I think you’re onto something there.

    Forgive my ignorance of the TV industry. My thinking has specialty channels like the Fight Network as a logical home for a lot of this. Is this a matter of exposure, or advertising? I’m not clear on either concept as it applies here, and I was in advertising. For example, The main Fight Network ad here in Canada these days has Randy Coture in it. Yet I rarely see Randy ON the fight network (though I do get to see last year’s K-1, KOTC, etc).

    Why wouldn’t the various promotions be in a rampage to get current programming onto these specialty channels and advertise the heck out of them? I understand the value of main cable channels, I think, but I subscribe to the Fight Network on the strength of their ads on basic cable. I’m interested in what you in-the-know guys have to say about it. I find this quite educating.

  15. JThue says:

    Ivan: Great article you guys have on MMAWeekly about this. Gives a lot more balanced view than the cheap PPV-shot taken by Arnold here and some of the over-the-top positive and negative predictions also posted here. Living far far away from the US I appreciated the details about how things are and can be structured within the Fox Corp.

    To me it’s quite simple: IFL go from sporadic and few broadcasts on one chan to weekly shows on same chan plus 2-hour shows on another channel, all under the same corporation umbrella. It shows they are gaining faith within Fox, and regardless of how many people never bother to check MyNetworkTV it is a definite increase in availability.

    As for UFC viewers seeing it as a bad copy, I’m sure some will, but I know I and many people around the world will get curious when we stumble over something on TV that bares recemblance to something we’re already interested in. God knows I got into WCW by stumbling over their wickedly poor Worldwide shows taped at Universal Studios with German commentary back in the early nineties. It was awful, and I didn’t understand a word beign said(dubbed), but as a WWF fan I couldn’t help but be interested by the fact that there was actually something else out there, something I’d never thought of when watching WWF-programming.

    Anyway, another professional looking progression for the IFL, and I hope they are able to survive for many years.

  16. Nikita says:

    “Honestly, I probably go over The CW or MyNetworkTV once a month at the most. I check out the first 7 channels, which are CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, PBS, and 2 local access channels. Then I go to the 20’s to check out ESPN and work my way on. Many people’s viewing habits are the same way. They don’t even bother searching through these channels. On most cable providers, 9-22 are the junk channels, and people know this.”

    I am the same way, I never check out most broadcast network channels, I go straight to FX, TNT, ESPN, etc. Yet, I have heard of the mynetwork shows because there are a ton of billboards and bus stop adverts around here for that damn Morgan Fairchild soap they have on every night. If they advertise like that for IFL, people will at least know the show exists, even if they dont watch it.

  17. Mr. Roadblock says:

    Being on a speciality network can be good fans of whatever that specialty is be it fighting, soccer, country music, golf, etc are likely to subscribe to the channel. It’s especially good for a small company that can’t afford to advertise because they can get in front of a fanbase on the cheap. The downside though is that when casual fans get curious about your product they have to order that Premium Channel to see your show.

    Being on Basic Cable or Network TV is much better. Basic Cable is the group of channels that everyone gets when they order cable TV they include Spike, ESPN, Discovery, History channel and about 20 others. HBO and Showtime are premium cable channels. You have to order Basic Cable then pay an additional fee to get those channels. Approximately 80 million homes in the U.S. get Basic Cable.

    Network TV is free. CBC, NBC, FOX, ABC, My Network andCW make up network TV (while PAX and PBS are also free). If you plug a TV set into an outlet you can get those channels for free.

    Now all IFL has to do is raise awarness that it exists, it has good fighters, what time the shows are on and who is fighting when. Its association with FOX will help immensely. IFL will get ads run on FOX the network during NASCAR, Baseball Games and NFL games. It will get ads on FX and FOX News Channel. They will be able to have fighters be guests on FOX and FOX News shows. They can also do press that’s not on FOX by having people on any number of talk shows. All the Press, all the billboards will drive people to a show on a channel that they get for free. So when IFL tells you it’s got an awesome fight on Saturday night it won’t cost you, the fan/consumer a penny to try them out. You flip on the TV or set the VCR and check them out. You don’t have to pay $40 for a PPV or order a Premium Cable channel.

  18. GassedOut says:

    Thanks for the explanation. I think I get the picture.

    Given all the above, I fail to see how this is anything but good for the IFL, and the exposure for MMA is great, so it’s good for the sport in general.

    To go back to your college/pro football analogy, the next set of MMA fighters has to come from somewhere. The IFL seems a logical place. Being Canadian, I get hockey a lot better, so to me it’s like the AHL vs NHL in a limited sense. Many of the past UFC stars are coaches in the IFL. What is good for the IFL at this point is good for the sport in general from an exposure standpoint I would think.

    Time to buy IFL stock… 😉

  19. oMMAbudsman says:

    IFL is going to crown individual champions? Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of the “team” concept. That sounds like the IFL is realizing the team concept isn’t all its cracked up to be. After watching two seasons, the points system they are using isn’t working and usually makes half the event useless. Why not make it cumulative over the entire season so each team has a W-L record and there are standings in the league rather than tournament style?

  20. JThue says:

    “Why not make it cumulative over the entire season so each team has a W-L record and there are standings in the league rather than tournament style?”

    Exactly what they’re doing now. And to have indivisual champions has always been the plan. The team concept is only getting bigger in 2008 too, if you haven’t noticed.

  21. Mr. Roadblock says:

    There are 12 IFL teams. Each team fights 3 times. The top 4 teams make the playoffs.

    The season ends in September with the Finals.

    The top 4 guys in each weight class will have a separate tournament to crown champions in each weight class. This will take place after the season ends. Probably Semis in October, Finals in November or December.

    I’m guessing Individual Championships will be on the line during team matches. Though I’m not sure about that.

  22. Ivan Trembow says:

    The individual titles are there to augment the team titles, not to replace them. They will also make for one or two big annual events at the end of each season.

  23. JOSH says:

    Also with the indivudal GPs at the end of the year EVERY match counts. So even if one team sweeps the first three matches and wins the series. The fighters in the last two matches want to win their respective fights so they can be part of the indiivudal GPs. IMO this is a smart idea and basically responds to the critics of the team system right now.

  24. Ivan Trembow says:

    Another way that they make every fight count is the tie-breaker system: Let’s say that there are a couple of teams who have a team record of 2-1 at the end of the regular season. Which teams make the 4-team playoffs? The answer: The team with the most individual wins in their team battles. So even if you’re up 3-0 in a team battle, it’s still important for the team to try to win the last two remaining fights, because it could end up being a tie-breaker.

  25. Zach Arnold says:

    Gives a lot more balanced view than the cheap PPV-shot taken by Arnold here and some of the over-the-top positive and negative predictions also posted here.

    Pointing out potential hypocrisy is not a cheap shot. You’re acting like a mizark.

  26. JThue says:

    It’s called jumping to conclusions and using said conclusions as base for lashing out.


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