NY Times Sets the Stage for EliteXC's CBS Debut

May 31, 2008

New York Times reporter Ross Schneiderman does a nice job of succinctly setting the stage for EliteXC’s CBS debut tonight. I spoke with Schneiderman earlier this week for the piece and was impressed with his grasp of the sport. Hopefully this will be the start of a more robust presence for MMA in the Times.

The piece, titled New League Sees Potential in Backyard Brawler, focuses on the man CBS and EliteXC are counting on: Kimbo Slice. Key quotes:

On Kimbo’s background:

A former college student turned strip-club bouncer turned pornography-company bodyguard, Ferguson found his calling five years ago when he earned several thousand dollars in a backyard boxing match in Miami. A friend put a video of the fight on a pornographic Web site, and millions of people watched it.

On the network’s goal:

“What CBS is trying to get out of this is some low-cost programming that will attract a younger demographic,” said Alan Gould, a media analyst for Natixis Bleichroeder, a research firm based in New York.

On Kimbo’s mainstream appeal:

“Kimbo is tailor-made for the age we’re living in,” said Adam Swift, the editor of mmapayout.com, a Web site devoted to the business of mixed martial arts.

“We’re an Internet-driven culture, a reality-driven culture. He has a natural charisma and a marketable look.”

On expectations:

If Ferguson improves to 3-0, Elite XC and CBS may also feel victorious. “Saturday night is a graveyard slot,” said Tuna Amobi, a media analyst for Standard & Poor’s Equity Research. “Most of the networks will really take anything. If they can get anything working, it will only do them well from a financial perspective.”

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