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Dana White’s Monday meeting with TV & PPV power players

By Zach Arnold | October 9, 2012

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Dana White’s travel schedule this week is beyond hectic. He travels from North America to Rio for Saturday night’s PPV event headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar. After the show, he and other Zuffa officials will be hauling ass to get to Orlando, Florida by Monday morning to be present for a business conference (of sorts) that UFC is sponsoring. The event will have the big players from the TV world, including InDemand and Fox. Dana White will be the featured guest at the conference.

Somehow, I suspect he won’t be spending too much time on the crap ratings UFC is drawing on FX for Ultimate Fighter and for last Friday’s Minneapolis show. Fuel TV drew 44,000 viewers for the undercard of that event, while the main card drew 1.1 million viewers on Friday night. I guess fight fans aren’t digging this current batch of dog food.

What will be interesting to see is if Zuffa presents a detailed stance as to what the future of Strikeforce is and if the company will continue to work with Showtime. On Monday, Kenny Rice on Inside MMA reported the following:

Inside MMA has heard from multiple sources that the relationship between Strikeforce and Showtime may be coming to an end. We are being told that the November 3rd event is in serious jeopardy and there’s a strong possibility that Showtime will no longer broadcast Strikeforce events. This could very possibly signify the end of the Strikeforce brand. Strikeforce was purchased by Zuffa, the UFC parent company, in March of 2011. We have yet to receive any word from either Showtime or Strikeforce as this development continues.”

Here’s Dave Meltzer’s response today to the Inside MMA report:

Although Sara McMann vs. Liz Carmouche, Luke Rockhold vs. Lorenz Larkin and Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir have all fallen apart due to injury, and despite rumors all day yesterday about the future of Strikeforce, at the moment the November 3rd event is still going to take place.

Earlier this year, UFC got into a battle with the states of Oklahoma & Florida over taxes that UFC claimed were unconstitutional. Once the two states backed down, UFC went ahead with a summer show (FX version) in southern Florida that didn’t draw very well. Then came the booking of the Strikeforce show on November 3rd in Oklahoma City. Dave Meltzer thinks the show will go on but there is serious reason to believe that it could get postponed or canceled simply because there aren’t enough names left in the SF brand for Showtime to bother promoting the event.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

7 Responses to “Dana White’s Monday meeting with TV & PPV power players”

  1. Chromium says:

    1.1 million isn’t bad actually, among recent shows.

    And to be fair, the prelims are on Friday afternoon (I know this sounds like a talking point but it’s true).

    That being said Fuel is just a really poor outlet. I hope it’s true that the UFC and Fox are renegotiating their outlet structure because even if they’ve boosted Fuel’s profile, this is just a failure.

    Fox Sports One is going to be Fox’s new sports network (formerly Speed, which has a lot more viewers than the ironically named Fuel) and should take over most UFC on Fuel programming.

    Also, the UFC really needs to hash out a predictable schedule for the sake of casual fans because best I can tell only MMA nerds like us who are already hardcore fanatics can keep track of this shit. There are casual fans who still think the UFC is on Spike for f***’s sake. “THE UFC IS COMING TO FX” should have been a mass marketing campaign.

    There was a while where it seemed from a business perspective, the UFC could do no wrong, although maybe I was just jaded from having been a wrestling fan for so long and seeing awful business decisions be a weekly occurrence. Now, they seem to be having some major growing pains and their fanbase is probably shrinking a bit as a result. I don’t forsee a crash like what happened with wrestling but they need to get a better handle on this.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      A predictable schedule is without question the most important thing and it should not be understated in the least.

      Random events on random Friday or Saturday Nights does not work. They need to either do a Wednesday Night Fights with PPV’s or FOX shows on Saturday. At least something like this.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Zuffa did their part. They increased FuelTV’s households and awareness. Now it is time for FOX to do their part and give them better time slots and a better structure.

    I am sure things will work themselves out. The fact that they are already working on it means that both parties have figured out the problem and are working on fixing it.

    My guess is a weekly live fight series on FOX Sports. And I would be shocked to see something on the main FOX Network on a weird time slot just to bring up the exposure levels.

  3. Roger says:

    you think they are gathering all these power players to talk about strikeforce? i hope you are being facetious.

    They are marketing fuel. They need to get fuel into more homes. Fuel is the driver for ufc ppv which is down and which also happens to be a revenue source for those who zuffa/fox are trying to convince to pick up fuel.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      The poster describes what this is. It is a seminar being held at the WDW Dolphin (a conference hotel) where professionals throughout various related industries will be to discuss how to market PPV and OnDemand television properties. Dana will probably speak for about 30-45 minutes and it will be about their strategies for using social media, Youtube, television ad buys, radio advertisements, and promotion via appearances. It will have nothing to do with what Meltzer described as being an announcement about the changes to their platforming.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      you think they are gathering all these power players to talk about strikeforce? i hope you are being facetious.

      I suggested that perhaps Dana and co. may make a comment about the Showtime situation at the Monday conference, not that the actual conference is about Strikeforce. Alan nailed it with his reply.

    • Chromium says:

      Fuel is the driver for ufc ppv

      This couldn’t be more wrong, sorry.

      The UFC is the “driver” for Fuel. Everything but UFC’s Fuel programming is the driver for the UFC’s PPV programming. Remember when the UFC ran Unleashed a bunch of times a week on Spike? That turned out to be great, low-budget shoulder programming that helped convert new fans and drive up PPV buys. Not being able to do that on FX is hurting them badly. Fuel is just a shit outlet and if they must have original UFC programming as part of the Fox deal to raise their profile, limit it to stuff like FX prelims, UFC Tonight, Best of Pride, TUF International, re-runs of Unleashed and UFC Primetime (in addition to airings on FX), and maybe 2 actual main cards a year. Oh, and weigh-ins and press conferences are fine but simulcast that shit online, since they’re essentially advertising (and in the case of post-fight press conferences, they are P.R. spin), and needs as much exposure as possible. I know that this isn’t technically the UFC’s call but it’s in Fox’s interest to keep the UFC as popular as possible so perhaps they can argue for it.

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