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Showtime’s attempt at PR for next week’s Strikeforce event

By Zach Arnold | November 1, 2009

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Today, CBS & Showtime had Fedor & Brett Rogers at the Chicago Bears/Cleveland Browns game at Soldier Field in Chicago. Dave Meltzer said that doing the PR for that fight amongst football fans is the best audience possible to do cross-promoting. While I agree with the basic premise, I don’t agree with how Showtime is promoting this fight at all.

Strikeforce is in a real tough spot right now. They are trying to do their best to do the hard sell to get people locally to go to the event next week. In Chicago, that’s an expensive task. On top of that, besides the local promotion you also have CBS & Showtime needing to promote the show on a national level so that the casual sports fan will tune in and watch.

Out of all the NFL games this week to watch, Chicago/Cleveland was probably one of the worst games to choose in terms of viewership. (The worst game for viewership this week, no doubt, was Carolina/Arizona because the game only aired in those two local markets and not nationally.) Outside of those two local markets, there is only one major reason why any fan outside of those geographical areas is watching that game — gambling. You only cared about that game (if you aren’t a fan of either team) because the spread was 12 1/2 points and the over/under was 40 1/2. That’s it. That’s the only reason you cared about that game. If CBS was truly serious about promoting the Strikeforce event, we would have seen a torrent of advertising for the show on the other marquee games that the network had (including Denver/Baltimore, Miami/Jets, SD/Oakland, Houston/Buffalo, so on and so forth). 10 seconds ads ain’t going to cut it.

So, is it nice to see photos of Fedor and Rogers at a Bears game? Sure. It’s better than nothing. Does it do anything in the grand scheme of things to promote the show nationally? Not really. Will it help with local ticket sales? Perhaps, but on a minor level. The fact that Showtime hasn’t even promoted any other fights on the card (unlike UFC) is annoying as well.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 20 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

20 Responses to “Showtime’s attempt at PR for next week’s Strikeforce event”

  1. klown says:

    Let’s hope this is more about inexperience than disinterest. If Showtime is serious about promoting Strikeforce, they can learn from their mistakes and improve over time.

    But if the poor job being done to promote the show is rather a sign that Strikeforce is simply low on Showtime’s priority list – we’re in trouble.

  2. ULTMMA says:

    Jason “Mayhem” Miller is a freaking host of a weekly program on MTV.

    your telling me showtime/ strikeforce can’t promote that to the mainstream media types?

    Huge opportunity missed

    originally stated here

    When the first Fedor you tube intro vid was released

    “Strikeforce executives also should not forget to lean on middleweight title contender turned MTV personality Jason “Mayhem” Miller. What Fedor lacks in personality or media appeal Miller, the host of Bully Beatdown, excels in”

  3. Mr.Roadblock says:

    I have to be honest, I could care less about this card. I hope Rogers knocks Fedor’s head into the 5th row. I was trying to get excited about this thing the other day then realized 1. it is on tape delay here on the West Coast 2. Jay Hieron/Nick Diaz isn’t part of the card.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    I read that most people didn’t even see Fedor and Rogers during half time show. That game wasn’t shown in my area.

    Strikeforce has a few issues:

    1) Showtime is running them. Anytime you are the one taking the financial risk and have almost none of the control, it’s a bad thing.

    2) Even if the ratings are solid, how do they turn that into enough money to compete with the UFC? Because at the end of the day, they need to be able to compete withthe UFC or they will fail.

    I think the ratings will be close to the Lawler/Smith CBS show then it was to Kimbo ones. Which is bad news. When a TV executive sees the rating SpikeTV is bringing in…. That is a bad comparison.

    The card itself is actually solid. Sone good fighters on it. The problem is that they are all complete unknowns outside of Jason Miller. And even he is only known to the real young demographic.

  5. Joseph says:

    CBS has been flooding the NFL games for the past 3 weekends with ads for the fights. It all depends what markets everyone is in, but I can tell you that I have seen about 12-15 ads for the fight in the past 3 weeks. This is not including their advertisements during TUF on Spike and even during Survivor.

    Obviously, this does not include Fight Camp 360 special that will air all this week on Showtime and on CBS the day before the fight. CBS has definitely put a lot behind this fight. My only small complaint is that they should advertise the co-main event and other fights as well.

  6. brent says:

    joseph: iv’e seen these ads as well, and some during SURVIVOR as well. it’s not the amount of ads they are running, but the quality of them. very little previous fight clips, zero mention of the rest of the card( a BIG complaint imo) and them riding everything on Fedor, who is a spectacular fighter, but has never been a draw. hell, the ufc ad’s for their “main events” counter are much better than SF’s. i’m not sure SF or Showtime/CBS really know how to market and advertise mma properly. Bloody Elbow is saying that they only need to pull in a 2.5 rating to be considered a solid success. if so, that shouldn’t be to hard to pull in on live primetime network tv.

    ULTMMA: Bully Beatdown has been cancelled and what good will it do SF if they don’t even mention that Mayhem is a part of the event. LOL. it’s already a given that the hardcore internet fans will be watching with baited breath (i’ll be there) but i’m sure they are counting on quite a bit on casul fans to tune in. that’s where they are dropping the ball SO FAR. there is still time to make up for this, meaning THIS WEEK. ūüėČ

  7. Zack says:

    I saw multiple commercials during the fight during the Chargers/Raiders game.

  8. The Citizen says:

    There are still grandpas in charge at the networks. It appears that Strikeforce/CBS/Shotime is doing what they can and putting their best foot forward.

    This more people staying in doors these days, a free fight card that looks a bit interesting on free tv has a good chance at doing solid ratings.

    I can’t really find fault with how the event is being promoted — just hoping it does well enough to stay around and maybe gain some steam for more and better cards down the road.

  9. Tobin says:

    There are 2 big sec games on CBS on saturday. LSU/Alabama and Florida/vandy. There will be so many football fans watching CBS, if they can keep 10 percent plus the hardcores it will be a huge success.

    Too many people here live in a mma bubble that they forget that the majority of the public will tune in because of the college football lead in.

  10. Alan Conceicao says:

    zero mention of the rest of the card( a BIG complaint imo) and them riding everything on Fedor, who is a spectacular fighter, but has never been a draw.

    So the smart professional move is to try and spread out the interest in the card with other guys from outside the US who haven’t drawn in a 30 second clip?

    If the ratings are a failure and Strikeforce ends up being DOOOOOOMED or whatever, then Fedor’s options might actually start to limit themselves somewhat to where he might sign with the UFC. In that sense, I can’t be worried about failure. If the ratings are a general success (say, I dunno, a 2.9 or something and 5 million for a peak), then that means that there will be more free shows on CBS, which means I can’t be worried about success. What I’m getting at, I suppose, is that emotional investment in promotions is for subhumans. Watch the fights; enjoy them.

  11. jj says:

    Is the card even finalized for this event?

  12. jj says:

    Last I heard they only had three or four fights confirmed. Does Gegard have an opponent? Is he still on this card? Is there any other undercard fight set except for Curran’s?

  13. Dave says:

    Yeah, Gegard is fighting Soko… Non-title, which is funny.

  14. Fluyid says:

    * * * * * * * * MEDIA TELECONFERENCE ALERT * * * * * * * *


    WHO: FEDOR EMELIANENKO, No. 1 ranked MMA heavyweight fighter

    BRETT ROGERS, Undefeated American powerhouse

    WHEN: Monday, Nov. 2 at 2:00 PM, ET/ 11:00 AM, PT

    WHAT: Fedor Emelianenko & Brett Rogers to participate in a media conference call to discuss the upcoming ‚ÄúSTRIKEFORCE/ M-1 GLOBAL: Fedor vs. Rogers ‚ÄĚ event LIVE on Saturday, Nov. 7 on the CBS Television Network (9:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT).

    ACCESS #: Toll free: 1-800-214-0694

    Passcode: 680038

    CONTACTS: CBS Television Network: Mitch Graham, (818) 655-1592,

    CBS Television Network: Brett Gold, (212) 975-7931,
    SHOWTIME Sports: Chris DeBlasio, (212) 708-1633,

    STRIKEFORCE: Mike Afromowitz, (917) 566-8754,

    M-1 GLOBAL: Jacob Schaap, (31 646 722 019,

    Brener Zwikel & Associates, Inc.: John Beyrooty, (562) 233-7477,

  15. Zack says:

    Mr come I never see you complaining on here about how every UFC Fight Night is tape delayed on the West Coast?

  16. ajz123 says:

    I live in Chicago and will be attending the fight. As such, I am also a Bears fan, and during yesterday’s game, there were no commercials for the fight during the game, no interview or anything at halftime with Fedor or Rogers, and CBS only showed a close-up of Rogers during the 3rd quarter I believe. There was one in-game promo for the fight, but overall, very disappointing promotion-wise.

    I have paid more attention to CBS games in the Chicago market the last few weeks looking for advertisements for the fight. Sadly, there have been few. At the very least, I do not understand why CBS does not do in-game promos during a stop in action. I remember during the NHL playoffs on Versus, they were advertising the hell out of Faber vs. Brown with in-game promos. The same should be happening for this fight. I will give Strikeforce/Showtime credit though for the massive billboard adverts for the fight on at 3 least of the major highways in Chicago. There is one right by O’Hare airport, one on the Stevenson, and one on either the Kennedy or the Edens. They can’t be missed and I can’t imagine how many people see those daily. The most I ever saw for a UFC fight was one.

  17. jj says:

    you weren’t paying attention enough. there was definitely more than one commercial for the strikeforce event during the bears game. they had at least one every quarter. they were only ten second spots that mentioned “the number one mma fighter in the world”.

    “Yeah, Gegard is fighting Soko‚Ķ Non-title, which is funny.”

    Has strikeforce confirmed that matchup or are you just going off of the rumor?

  18. Alan Conceicao says:

    The fight was finalized a month ago.

  19. ajz123 says:

    I watched the whole game. When did they show them? I know one of the commercials got cut off after about .5 seconds for one of those Bill Kurtis and David Caruso commercials. I honestly don’t remember seeing any during the game except that one in-game promo. There was one after the game was over during the post-game show, but that is all I saw.


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