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Old 05-28-2010, 08:54 PM
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Default Dana White Predicts 100+ Shows Per Year

From MMAPayout.com. The first few paragraphs are the important stuff, although their analysis (the "Payout Persepective" bit), is pretty insightful:

Quote:
John Morgan of MMAJunkie reports that the UFC has already begun the preliminary research necessary to determine whether an office in China is feasible and worthwhile. The goal of the UFC is to begin expanding its reach with localized versions of TUF in several different markets and eventually to begin promoting 100 shows per year.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana White
The growth prospects for the UFC are astounding. As recently as 2007, the UFC held just 19 events. White said he envisions a day in the not-too-distant future when the company could hold as many as 100 events annually including single nights with multiple events on multiple continents.
“This is is a work in progress,” White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “We bought this company, and we were doing five fights a year. If you would have told me six or seven years ago that we’d be doing 34 fights a year, I would have said, ‘That’s impossible. It’ll never happen. That’s crazy.’ We’re probably going to end up doing 100 fights a year.
“We could have a show [in the U.S.] on Saturday night and five more going on in five other countries. That’s what’s going to eventually happen. It’s figuring this thing out, putting the pieces together, and like I said, it’s a work in progress. But I’m telling you guys, I said it years ago, and I’ve been saying it – how big this thing is going to be. I think people are now really starting to realize how big this thing is really going to be.”
Payout Perspective:
To promote 100 events, the UFC assumes the following will be in place:
  • Fighter availability (quantity and quality)
  • Worldwide legalization and acceptance
  • Access to substantial distribution in each market
I tend to think that 100 shows per year is a possibility, but the time frame for such an accomplishment is absolutely up in the air and certainly isn’t something that will happen within the next 5 years.


Fighter availability (quantity and quality)
The UFC currently does 30+ shows per year with a roster of ~220 fighters and that number is closer to 260 when you consider the number of guys that are signed and then cut after one or two fights in any given year. The UFC would probably need 900-1000 fighters to do 100 shows and that’s conservative considering the global nature of its 100 show ambitions would strain the ability of fighters to compete more than 2-3 times per year.

The surge in the sport’s popularity is driving a lot of new interest in participation among elite athletes, but it’s going to take a great deal of time to develop the talent necessary to host 100 UFC events a year. This, unless the UFC is willing to sacrifice product quality — especially with its undercards. Yet, I wouldn’t suggest that, seeing as top-to-bottom fight quality is a key point of differentiation between MMA and boxing. The overall strength and entertainment value of a UFC card in its entirety is very much a part of the value proposition which it has used to build the sport.

Moreover, promoting 100 shows in a year would almost necessitate the inclusion of further weight classes at 125, 135, 145, and possibly 225 to give the UFC a chance to fill all of these cards. What does that mean for the WEC? What does that mean for other promotions? I suppose part of the assumption here is that, if the UFC gets to this point, its size and scale afford it so many advantages that it really does become the NFL of MMA (meaning you’re not going to have Fedor with Strikeforce or Aoki/Kawajiri in Dream).


Worldwide legalization
Despite the success of MMA in North America over the last five years, the sport is still not legalized in major markets like New York and Ontario — the UFC’s road to worldwide legalization will be no less tumultuous. I fully expect that history will repeat itself; and, when you take into account the cultural differences that exist between North America and other regions of the world, the road to legalization could be an even longer haul for the UFC in certain international markets.

In Germany, Austria, and France the thought of hitting a downed opponent is near sacrilegious to the mainstream sports fan. More than that, their consumer population is far more sensitive to violence, in general, which will very much make the sport a long-term proposition.
China is a very attractive market, but also one that can be unpredictable and very difficult to do business. The WWE have had a very difficult time penetrating the market (as have bigger companies like Google), because its conservative culture governed by a semi-communist state that operates under an “our way or the highway” policy. Although, the addition of Flash Entertainment (the Abu Dhabi state-owned company that bought 10% of Zuffa in 2009) will certainly help, because they have the connections and clout to get meetings with the key decision makers.

Moreover, I tend to think that people often over-estimate the future size and purchasing power of markets like China and India based solely upon what they’ve heard (much of which is exaggeration on the part of the American political and media bodies fearfully looking over their shoulders at the next challengers to American superiority). Many have suggested that China’s GDP will soon exceed that of the US (and possibly triple the US by 2050), but the country has its own economic and political challenges ahead. The combination of nearly ubiquitous cigarette smoking, airborne pollutants, water contamination (nearly 33% of their fresh water is undrinkable), and the one-child policy will soon put a strain on China’s already questionable health care infrastructure and force a relatively small and proportionately shrinking middle class to support a very large and very sick group of elderly.

The UFC and Dana White may very well come to realize that “getting the US done” was easier than expanding globally.


Access to distribution
The future of television might be the internet (sometimes I think Dana reads the site), but it’s not going to happen overnight and its not going to happen easily. There are many powerful people earning a lot of money through the status quo (i.e., television networks and cable/satellite providers) that really don’t have much incentive or desire to change the existing model. It’s going to be a tooth-and-nail fight to switch the medium.

Thus, I’m betting on a rather slow change and proliferation of internet-based television, which suggests that the distribution necessary for 100 shows a year will necessitate a hybrid system. Not everyone is going to switch at once, which means the UFC still wants to be on traditional television for now (but it will take internet-based distribution in markets like China or Germany where it can’t get to television, in the mean time).


What does the UFC need to do next?
Be patient.

I understand the temptation — the potential of MMA is huge — but it would be unwise to rush global expansion beyond the current capabilities of the firm. The UFC risks stretching everyone and everything too thin, which would utterly kill product quality in the long-term.
Therefore:
  • Let the localized versions of TUF do their magic: develop regional talents, build regional fan bases, and encourage grassroots development.
  • Give the UFC programming time to develop a following in the over 150+ markets it now resides.
  • Further push merchandise and collectibles into these foreign markets to give the UFC additional presence.
In the mean time, concentrate on dominance within existing markets and work to develop further competencies in marketing, public relations, and digital media. The UFC is good in these areas, but it could also definitely improve. There’s no such thing as perfect; and if there were, it wouldn’t be good enough.
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:59 PM
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They are going to flood the market and probably end up losing money and/or hurting the sport on a whole.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:25 PM
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I can't afford $50.00 x 100. That's $5,000.00 a year. I would have to take up a second job lol.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:37 PM
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Ka-ching!

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.B. View Post
They are going to flood the market and probably end up losing money and/or hurting the sport on a whole.
Spot on. Remember when "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" had it's debut? People were crazy for it. Then they started adding 2 shows a week, then three, pretty soon people were yawning and the ratings were in the toilet.

Dana is a great businessman but maybe his reasoning has become foggy from breathing all that high altitude ether since becoming a multi-millionaire/culture phenom.

Message to Dana - Make it more affordable for the loyal fans who gave you those millions and quit putting on average shows.
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flo View Post
Ka-ching!



Spot on. Remember when "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" had it's debut? People were crazy for it. Then they started adding 2 shows a week, then three, pretty soon people were yawning and the ratings were in the toilet.

Dana is a great businessman but maybe his reasoning has become foggy from breathing all that high altitude ether since becoming a multi-millionaire/culture phenom.

Message to Dana - Make it more affordable for the loyal fans who gave you those millions and quit putting on average shows.
There are not enough quality fighters for the UFC to justify 20 shows a year, let alone a ridiculous number like 100.

If the UFC wants to remain the gold standard of MMA, then they actually need to start doing LESS PPV's. Over saturating the PPV market is what hurt the WWE. Granted, they made it out of it okay, but they also have the most watched weekly show on Cable TV with Monday Night Raw and they have the benefit of history on their side with a company that has been popular for many many years.

Now, I can see the UFC expanding their talent pool and putting on more shows if they do it on network TV or even a reputable cable network like ESPN or HBO. Still, 100 shows a year seems a bit far fetched unless they are willing to start airing more sub-par talent levels then what the UFC has been used to.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flo View Post
Ka-ching!



Spot on. Remember when "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" had it's debut? People were crazy for it. Then they started adding 2 shows a week, then three, pretty soon people were yawning and the ratings were in the toilet.

Dana is a great businessman but maybe his reasoning has become foggy from breathing all that high altitude ether since becoming a multi-millionaire/culture phenom.

Message to Dana - Make it more affordable for the loyal fans who gave you those millions and quit putting on average shows.
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.B. View Post
There are not enough quality fighters for the UFC to justify 20 shows a year, let alone a ridiculous number like 100.

If the UFC wants to remain the gold standard of MMA, then they actually need to start doing LESS PPV's. Over saturating the PPV market is what hurt the WWE. Granted, they made it out of it okay, but they also have the most watched weekly show on Cable TV with Monday Night Raw and they have the benefit of history on their side with a company that has been popular for many many years.

Now, I can see the UFC expanding their talent pool and putting on more shows if they do it on network TV or even a reputable cable network like ESPN or HBO. Still, 100 shows a year seems a bit far fetched unless they are willing to start airing more sub-par talent levels then what the UFC has been used to.
Well.... I don't think Dana mean what you two are thinking but I could be wrong... I don't think he necessarily means 100 events like the UFC event tomorrow each year...

I think of it more like MLB... they play a few thousand games a year but even the die hard fans don't tune in to all of them...

I imagine it would be something more akin to regional or international shows... North America would watch one event... the UK would watch another etc, etc.. so the number of PPV's we watch here in the US might not change at all.

That's just my take/guess on it though... I could be way off.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
Well.... I don't think Dana mean what you two are thinking but I could be wrong... I don't think he necessarily means 100 events like the UFC event tomorrow each year...

I think of it more like MLB... they play a few thousand games a year but even the die hard fans don't tune in to all of them...

I imagine it would be something more akin to regional or international shows... North America would watch one event... the UK would watch another etc, etc.. so the number of PPV's we watch here in the US might not change at all.

That's just my take/guess on it though... I could be way off.
In baseball each team plays 162 games per season, but each team has 30 players, and there is off time when the season is over. To do that many shows a year, it would be nonstop and people would get sick of it after a while.

There just isn't enough of a talent pool for the UFC to put on that many shows and keep the level of talent at it's highest. That is like 8 shows a month, and I think we would be trading quality for quantity. I'm sure in some twisted way, Dana would say this is to give more fights back to the fans, but the truth is that it's to put more dollars in his pocket in place of actually promoting the best fights in the world.

We already have over a 100 shows year in the sport of MMA, but does anybody really watch all these other tiny promotions? Not really, and by making a move to put on that many shows, Dana would likely wipe a lot of those smaller orgs out of business because he would need all the fighters he could get. In a way it's brilliant, but I still think the likely outcome would be over saturation and loss of money in the short-term. It could pan-out, but I think in the end it would result in a poorer quality product.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:23 AM
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I hope you're right, Chuck.

It would be great to have fewer (with better cards) PPV events and more free fight nights. Heavy emphasis on the "free".

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Old 05-29-2010, 01:26 AM
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Yeah, I just re-read the article. I guess he's talking about all markets.

More TUF though? I dunno, they're gettingso predictable and - although there are exceptions - many of the fights are real yawners....
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flo View Post
Yeah, I just re-read the article. I guess he's talking about all markets.

More TUF though? I dunno, they're gettingso predictable and - although there are exceptions - many of the fights are real yawners....
I didn't even read the article until now, just the quote from Dana.

TUF in other countries might actually go over well if it's mostly fighters from their region even though we are pretty much sick of it here.

Still, that article basically outlines what I have been saying, and that is they will ultimately trade quality for quantity. They will end up over saturating it with extra weight classes and lower competition, but they will ultimately dominate the sport, and thats what Zuffa wants.
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