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Losers and winners this month in Japan

By Zach Arnold | March 17, 2008

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MMA Predictions will have an interview with Baret Yoshida later on their site this week.

I’m very curious as to what the rating for the DREAM debut show on TBS was. If it’s a low number… and I’m not even talking about the live gate, either. You would have to say that round one of the K-1 & DSE vs. J-ROCK war goes to Yoshida’s camp. Flashback: A DREAM of returning to glory (3/5/08).

Update: It is confirmed that the show drew an 8.9% rating on TBS. That is a miserable rating that would even make HEROs blush. TBS finished second to last for ratings in that time frame, with low-powered TV Tokyo finishing in last (with a 6.9% number).

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Topics: DREAM, Japan, Media, MMA, Pro Elite, UFC, Zach Arnold | 31 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

31 Responses to “Losers and winners this month in Japan”

  1. John Griffin says:

    Any word if Gomi is gonna jump to DREAM and take the last tourney spot yet?

  2. Sergio says:

    I found this link on the Sherdog boards.

    According to that site, DREAM 1 got an 8.9 rating.


  3. Cole says:

    How could you say Yoshida’s group won round one of the K-1 & DSE vs. J-ROCK feud? WVR doesn’t even have a television

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    How could you say Yoshida’s group won round one of the K-1 & DSE vs. J-ROCK feud? WVR doesn’t even have a television deal.

    And with that kind of rating, TV may become harder to come by for the DREAM project.

  5. Cole says:

    Didn’t you say on fight network radio that FEG/K-1 has too many connections to get kicked off television?

    Also, since the rating wasn’t very good for DREAM, does this hinder the chances of WVR/Sengoku of getting a television deal?

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    Didn’t you say on fight network radio that FEG/K-1 has too many connections to get kicked off television?

    Also, since the rating wasn’t very good for DREAM, does this hinder the chances of WVR/Sengoku of getting a television deal?

    Kicked off – yes, they’re too powerful overall.

    Demoted to a crappy timeslot like Midnight JST on tape-delay, which would devalue ad revenue and sponsorships of such programming? That’s what happened to HEROs and could easily happen here.

    Sure, if one group fails then it taints everyone, but it looks like WVR at least is going to be able to build on the outcomes of their first event.

  7. cyphron says:

    From Sherdog’s article: “In both cases, Aoki was criticized by fans and fighters alike for his embellishing of the fouls’ effects, and his perceived refusal to continue. ”

    Aoki is a known flopper in two previous fights. If he continues due to a disqualification to JZ, that would be terrible. Lets not turn MMA into soccer.

  8. Grape Knee High says:

    In my personal opinion, I don’t think Aoki is flopping. He took the first elbow to his shoulder in stride and collapsed immediately after being hit in the back of the head/neck.

    Going from the nature of the hit to his head/neck and the resulting symptoms in his arm, it’s pretty obvious he suffered a stinger. A not uncommon injury in hockey and football, and not an injury one can fight through.

  9. sprewell rimz says:

    I think the real baseline of success for DREAM will come on the next card, when Sakuraba, Akiyama, Funaki and Tamura all fight. KID will probably be on that card too, and virtually half the focus of the first show was KID. If they try to book Sakuraba vs. Tamura in the first round, it’ll be evident that they need a big rating.

    This show had virtually no draw, so it was a pretty poor choice for a first card. They should have at least had KID on it.

  10. Rictor says:

    I don’t understand you in that “You would have to say that round one of the K-1 & DSE vs. J-ROCK war goes to Yoshida’s camp.” Zach. In terms of attendance DREAM was ahead of WVR. Next we have the TV ratings. Yes, they weren’t that great but it is largely due to some reasons. First of all the broadcast was from 7pm when all K-1 shows usually air from 9pm. Many people at this time were coming back home from work etc. This was stupid TBS idea to air it then. Second, DREAM is a new company. People from FEG aren’t that deep involved into it, the organisation is mainly operated by the old DSE staff and the Sasahara team lacked time to do a proper promotion to this event. Contrary to ratings in Japan, ratings in Korea were big. I think that the main DREAM mistake was lack of a ppv but it can change in future. Plus, DREAM will have a deal with HDNet which is big in my opinion. How can you say that round one goes to WVR is for me incomprehensible.

  11. Zach Arnold says:

    The WVR card was excoriated for the most part and it turned out relatively fine. For rookies, J-ROCK should have been blown out of the water by the K-1/DSE combo.

    They weren’t.

    Gomi and Barnett are at least some building blocks to work with. For all the talk about what a ‘white hot’ ticket the DREAM deal was, it basically turned out to be a glorified Bushido event on all levels.

    As far as K-1 cutting a deal with HDNet, I laugh at the notion that somehow it means anything. Take a look at Kazuyoshi Ishii’s philosophy and track record — he couldn’t give a damn about foreign rights or production of events, as all he cares about is the Japanese TV money. He can’t be happy with that dog of a debut TV rating, that’s for sure.

  12. Dave2 says:

    Zach, when you say that DREAM on TBS was second last in its time slot, do you mean second last among the major networks?

    And if so, how many major networks are there in Japan exactly?

    Also is 8.9% the share for all the households with TV in Japan or only the share of households who were watching TV in Japan at the time?

  13. Rictor says:

    Yup, right. WVR did good but in my opinion it’s not quite fair to expect from DREAM to be Pride already from the first show. In fact I think that Sasahara team had less time to prepare their event than J-ROCK. People think that DREAM is continuation of HERO’s and Pride. To a certain degree yes, but not in entirety. The production was all by the old DSE staff, K-1 production crew didn’t event attend DREAM 1. The only HERO’s influence were some fighter and I think that Sasahara team tries to do an event which resembles Pride to some extent but not duplicates it. They couldn’t honestly believe that the LW GP will be so much different than Bushido in terms of ratings. Only fans were acting as it is the next big thing. The best from DREAM we will have in the future. Rome was not built in a day.
    And for HDNet deal you’re right but it will bring some good amount of money to DREAM. Ishii isn’t happy, that’s for sure but everything can change in the near future. I think that he has some patience towards DREAM.

  14. Dave2 says:

    World Victory Road didn’t “win” but their event was a lot closer to their expectations than DREAM’s event was to their expectations.

    Yoshida/Barnett is a draw though admittedly, Gomi/Bang was a disappointment since that fight ended prematurely. But Cro Cop/Tomato Can, Minowaman/Tomato Can and a watered down Bushido event (I think it’s unfair to even compare DREAM to Bushido to be honest with you) is far from what PRIDE fans in Japan and abroad expected from FEG and the former PRIDE staff.

    The Quarter Finals of the LW GP will be better though. A true Aoki/JZ fight to completion hopefully, Kawajiri/Alvarez, Hansen/Nagata and Ishida/Firmino. DREAM 2’s MW GP is also looking good. Hopefully they deliver next time. I’m a PRIDE fan but I admit that I was disappointed with DREAM 1 and I find it a big hysterical how PRIDE marks have bashed others on the forums for suggesting that DREAM 1 wasn’t that good. DREAM 1 was a subpar Bushido event.

  15. Donny7 says:


    I have to question your motives. How in the world did J-Rock win?

    mma in japan on ppv? lol
    they probably didnt have more than the 10k in the arena and 5k that ordered it see that event

    TBS quadropuled that number

    being stuck on skyperfect is terrible. WVR is headed down the same path as the wfa

    they r losing money hand over fist paying yoshida, gomi and barnett with not TV like pride.

  16. smoogy says:

    I’d like to see the HERO’S spring numbers for the last couple of years to get some context here. Someone in Japan told me March tends to be the busiest month and ratings for stuff like MMA generally aren’t too hot then.

  17. ilostmydog says:

    It’s true that ratings go up towards the end of the year, as the tournaments begin to reach their final, but 8.9% is still very bad. This is just compounded by the weak showing that K-1 and HERO’s had last year. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that TBS may stick the next DREAM or even MAX at a shitty timeslot or drop it completely due to this.

  18. Gygax says:

    Anyone who thinks an HDNet deal for the Dream promotion will be some kind of cash infusion is deluding themselves. HDNet is paying out pennies to these promotions to broadcast them. They only have 10 million who can see the channel to begin with. Combine that with DirectTV’s effort to put HDNet on a premium tier that would effectively kill HDNet’s numbers.

    Monetarily, a deal with HDNet is not that big of a deal at all.

  19. 45 Huddle says:

    The Lightweights just aren’t going to draw in Japan. At least not the current crop of Lightweights.

    Kid Yamamoto, who is basically a Bantamweight is their only major draw under the age of 38. That is not a good sign.

  20. cyphron says:

    Just in case it doesn’t embed, here is the elbow that dropped Aoki:

    Looks like the elbow glanced the side of his neck, NOT the back of the neck/spine. It looks like a flop to me.

  21. Dave2 says:

    Which feed is the XTM? (the logo on the top left of the JZ-Aoki gif) Is that the one from Korea? (Which I heard was better than TBS) I downloaded the TBS one and saw the other three fights that didn’t air on TBS on dailymotion with the XTM logo in the top left.

  22. ilostmydog says:

    Yes, XTM is the Korean channel.

  23. Grape Knee High says:

    cyphron, do you even watch other contact sports at all?

    What happened to Aoki is exactly how you get a stinger (also called a burner). It’s a temporary nerve injury caused by compression to either side of the lower head/neck. Which ever side you get this compression, affects the arm on the same side as the nerve travels down from one side of the spinal cord down an arm.

    Notice that he got hit on the right rear of the neck/head? And that it was his right arm that was affected?

    Unless the doctor coached him to say he had numbness and minor paralysis of the arm, I doubt he just made up the nerve injury symptoms.

  24. hotmouse says:

    I don’t think Sengoku won against Dream.Howerver,Dream lost in rating.While Dream belongs only to TBS,it seems Sengoku has friendly connections to other TV stations.TV Tokyo sent flowers to the event,Yoshida vs Barnett was covered on NTV news program,and even Fuji TV sports program(SRS Special Ring Side)is to cover the event this week.It’s due to their “clean” attitude backed by some political VIPs and J-Rock’s connection to entertainment business.I think Sengoku will get TV deal in the future,though Dream’s rating may affect to Sengoku’s negotiations.

  25. Dave2 says:

    I’d like to bring up what Zach wrote in that DREAM article 2 weeks ago:

    “It’s possible that despite K-1 attempting an image makeover to recreate a mini-PRIDE, there will be some old PRIDE fans who see through the charade and won’t accept K-1’s new creation.”

    After seeing DREAM 1, I’ve started to think Zach may be on to something. But the main problem is more so that DREAM 1 was a weak PRIDE Bushido than anything. DREAM 2 will most likely turn out fine and it will draw better too (given the star power on that card and lightweights, being the focus of DREAM 1, just don’t traditionally draw) I’m a PRIDE fan but man, that event underwhelmed me. Three tomato can fights, a lw gp decision fest (minus Alvarez and Buscape) and the JZ/Aoki NC just making it all worse. Eddie Alvarez, who wasn’t a PRIDE fighter, was the most exciting fighter I saw on the card that night. The PRIDE matchmakers always had the better eye for gaijin talent so I take it that the PRIDE staff takes credit for bringing Alvarez in.

  26. Zack says:

    “The Lightweights just aren’t going to draw in Japan. At least not the current crop of Lightweights.”

    Are the lightweights a draw anywhere yet outside of boxing?

  27. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I’m pretty sure that on DirecTV you already have to pay a premium to get the HD tier (at least, that’s how it worked when I was on DirecTV last year), in addition to owning HD equipment (which is more expensive).

    FIOS has HDNet as part of the regular package, but you need to rent an HD box (apparently, as a result of the bell split back in the day, the phone companies that exist now are not currently allowed to sell you stuff. given that they seem to sell me wireless phones, I’m not sure how that holds up, but they claim to be working on it). Or you need to have a cablecard ready telelvision and a cablecard rental (which is a couple bucks, IIRC).

    I don’t know what the deal is with comcast.

    Personally, I can’t wait for Spike HD to finally come online. IIRC Verizon has a channel number set aside for it already, has for a couple years (815).

  28. Dave2 says:

    “Are the lightweights a draw anywhere yet outside of boxing?”

    Probably not. A lot of internet MMA fans (including myself) talk about how great the lightweight division is in Japan and the UFC but they don’t draw well. BJ Penn vs. Joe Stevenson didn’t draw. BJ Penn may be nuthugged all over the internet but I don’t think he’s a draw among casual fans exactly. Then again, I don’t speak to many casual fans of the sport so I can’t speak for them.

    The thing though is that I think the “hardcore” MMA fan might have more of an impact on the UFC than we’re led to believe on the internet maybe. Notice how with every UFC, there’s always a minimum of 200,000 buys. The average UFC drew 460,000-ish. I’m thinking that the number of “casual” fans make up about 260,000-ish, maybe more, of that pie and “hardcore” fans make up around 200,000, maybe less. So the hardcore MMA fan probably contributes a lot to the UFC. And considering that the UFC did around 100,000 at best before TUF, about half of those 200,000 are probably post-TUF fans. Which defeats the logic that you can’t be a hardcore fan if you started with TUF.

  29. Gygax says:

    Jeremy (not that Jeremy) – HDNet is suing DirecTV over a plan to place HDNet on a premium tier HD package. They’ve recieved a temporary injunction back in November to stop it from happening but the case is still in court, thus it could still happen. If DirecTV wins, its going to cost an extra $5 a month to get HDNet over the existing HD package that DirecTV offers.

  30. The Gaijin says:

    Cro Cop vs. Kharitonov rumoured for Dream 4 this summer.

    I’m intrigued…

  31. Dave2 says:

    Cro Cop vs Kharitonov looks really good. I think Cro Cop needs one more tune up fight though. Beating an all-out tomato can will only give him a false sense of security. Cro Cop needs an intermediary fighter who isn’t a top fighter but still not a scrub. He needs a “B” level fighter I guess before fighting an A level fighter.


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