The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

It’s Just You And Me, TV

So no one watched WEC, then

I’m not sure that rating is as bad as a disaster, but it’s not far off. This was a show with a title fight on top and a major star underneath in Miguel Torres, and it drew at test pattern levels; for a company looking to put on a first ever PPV in a month and a half that’s as bad a sign as you can get. Zuffa’s work is cut out for them: they’ve got between now and the 23rd to use every avenue they have on PPV and on their various TV specials to hype the living shit out of the upcoming PPV card, because the only way they’re going to get a decent buyrate is by stimulating a fever pitch of interest in what is an extremely small fanbase, AND hoping for some curiosity spillover from UFC -only buyers. To put this into perspective the reported internal WEC target for buys is 50,000, which means 1 in every 7 and change households which watched this recent card for free will have to be willing to pay $45 to see the next. That’s a giant ask for what is viewed, with some legitimacy, as a second-rate knockoff minor league promotion. If there’s any lesson to be learned in recent years from promotional competition in the fighting sports genres, it’s that more than ever fans are only interested in paying for what’s considered to be major league, top-level stuff. Minor league shows can survive, but not more than that and only with strict cost control. WEC faces a huge task of trying to break out of the minor league category, and I don’t know if they can do it.

For whatever it’s worth my best guess now in advance of the hype is that WEC on PPV draws 30,000-35,000 buys, which would not a joke number but also would not be enough to be sustainable. Given that the PPV is going to be headlined by, arguably, the second biggest match in company history after Faber/Pulver I, it’s hard to see where they go from there if that number turns out to be in the ballpark. Questions will have to be asked again about why WEC exists separately under the Zuffa banner.

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March 10, 2010 - Posted by | MMA

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