IFL on the Ropes

June 27, 2008

New Jersey’s The Record has a story on the IFL on the front page of today’s business section. The story covers a lot of the same ground that has been covered previously, but provides a succinct narrative of how the company reached the verge of bankruptcy and the current MMA landscape according to Jay Larkin and Gary Shaw.

The piece ends on a note of optimism from Larkin:

“Before I got here, the company was overloaded, was maxed out on resources — human more than anything else,” he said. “We were traveling all over the country. The more places we went to, the more money we bled.”

Now that the fights have stopped altogether, the company’s biggest assets are the fighter contracts and video library of 400 hours of IFL action, he said.

“So we have very attractive assets here and we are getting a lot of interest from people who see that,” he said, adding that the best way forward would be to privatize the company. “The chances of the company surviving in some form are very good.”

CBS 7/26 Press Release

June 27, 2008

TICKETS GO ON SALE THIS FRIDAY FOR
ELITEXC’S ‘SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS: LAWLER-SMITH II’
SATURDAY, JULY 26, AT STOCKTON ARENA
__________________________________________________________________________________

Pre-Sale Continues Today For a Fantastic MMA Card That Includes Lawler-Smith Rematch,
Shields-Thompson EliteXC Title Fight, Diaz-Denny, ‘Big Foot’ Silva and Much, Much More

LOS ANGELES (June 26, 2008) – Fans seeking to participate in the most significant sporting event in the recent history of Stockton, Calif. — an exciting evening of mixed martial arts, which includes two EliteXC world title fights — have the opportunity to reserve their seats now.

Tickets, starting at $35 for the Saturday, July 26 fight card at the Stockton Arena go on sale tomorrow/this Friday, June 27. The pre-sale for tickets continued today/Thursday, June 26. The fight card is presented by Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.’s live fight division, EliteXC.

Tickets can be purchased at the Stockton Arena Box Office (Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.) and Saturday (noon-4 p.m.), by phone at (209) 373-1700 and (866) 373-7088 (toll free) or online at www.stocktontickets.com. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. PT. The first live fight is at 3:15.

“We’re looking forward to staging this tremendous event at the beautiful Stockton Arena,’’ said Douglas DeLuca, Executive Chairman, ProElite, Inc. “Local fans not only will get a chance to watch some of the best fighters in EliteXC, but some of the best in the world.

Promoter Hits Century Mark

June 27, 2008

The business of promoting mixed martial arts events is fraught with failure, from the national level on down to your local show. Often a promotion can last just a few shows, or in the case of the recent Godz of War promotion not even make it out of the box for their first show. In such an environment, it is worth giving kudos to a promoter that has stood the test of time. One such promotion is Monte Cox’s Extreme Challenge, which celebrates it’s 100th installment this Saturday night. Monte’s recipe for success at the local level comes from measured expectations and a good mix of performers for his shows:

“It’s kind of neat,” Cox said. “We’ve got a mixture of good, quality guys, and then some of the old guys.
That’s been the beauty of the Extreme Challenge circuit, Cox said. After 12 years, it still is focused on developing the top up-and-coming talent in the Midwest while also bringing back fighters who have taken their careers to a higher level.

“We said all along we want to be the Triple-A of MMA,” Cox said. “We want to develop guys, bring the best guys that we develop to the Extreme Challenge and try to give them a chance to show what they can do and then move them on to bigger shows.”

MMAPayout.com extends it’s congratulations to Monte for his 100th show.

Developing The Northeast

June 27, 2008

MMAPayout.com has spoken in the past about the NorthEastern United States being an area ripe for further development on the local, regional, and national level. The UFC has been negligent in providing a regular stream of shows to this quadrant of the country, which is providing an opportunity for other national and regional promoters to exploit this region. The IFL had tried to institute this gameplan before recently going into hiatus and EliteXC chose the NJ area recently as the host of their CBS debut.

Some have spoken in the past about the expense of advertising your shows with the high cost of using the mass media outlets. A different tack would be to build the area on a grass roots level through other means. Sites like John Moody’s Tri-State Fighter are excellent steps towards pulling together this region as a coherent market that should sustain itself. Tri-State Fighter is directed at covering the world of MMA focused solely on NY, NJ & CT, with emphasis on individual fighters, coaches, trainers and regional gyms. Having sites like this will help to cultivate a local fanbase that will turn out for the local shows, big and small.

Affliction VP: Major Marketing Push Ahead

June 26, 2008

Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio spoke with MMAJunkie.com recently and shed some light on the heretofore minimal marketing efforts for their July 19th Affliction: Banned PPV.

“Right now, we haven’t even broken water (on marketing) yet,” Atencio said. “We’re waiting until the push because we know a lot of people, especially the casual fan, they’ll forget about it if we push too soon. … We’ve sold about 8,000 tickets so far, and that’s with minimal advertising.”

Affliction’s marketing efforts so far have been on the viral and grass-roots level, including the introduction of a street team as well as partnering with retailer Buckle. One would assume this new push will include both print and television media at the national level.

Billboard Sports-Rec DVD Chart – 7/5/08

June 26, 2008

  1. WWE: The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment
  2. NFL: Road To Super Bowl XLII
  3. WWE: WrestleMania XXIV
  4. MLB: Shea Goodbye: 45 Years Of Amazin’
  5. NFL: Super Bowl XLII Champions New York Giants
  6. MLB: Red Sox Memories: The Greatest Moments In Boston Red Sox History
  7. WWE: Twist Of Fate: The Matt & Jeff Hardy Story
  8. WWE: The Legacy Of Stone Cold Steve Austin
  9. WWE: Backlash 2008
  10. WWE: Triple H: The King Of Kings

This is the first time since MMAPayout.com has been covering the Billboard chart that a UFC title didn’t crack the top ten.

EliteXC in Stockton

June 26, 2008

A little more information on the EliteXC Stockton show from the RecordNet:

It will be the first event broadcast on a major network television from the arena, and tickets will be on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Stockton Arena has hosted MMA events in the past, but not by a national organization. Arena capacity is 9,835, and ticket prices will range from $35-$700.

Former ProElite CEO Doug DeLuca commented on the venue:

“Stockton, to us, is a great MMA town and there’s been a lot of good fighters from the area, including Nick,” said Douglas DeLuca, chief executive officer of Pro Elite. “It’s in proximity to a lot of cities and has a beautiful arena. It’s what we were looking for.”

MMA Fantasy Camp

June 26, 2008

With salaries for mixed martial artists still in the developing stage, fighters and agents are always looking for new ways to add additional revenue streams. One such idea is the MMA fantasy camp. While seminars are for the more advanced practitioners of the martial arts, these fantasy camps give a way to tap into the more mainstream and casual MMA fan. One such fantasy camp is being put on this Friday in Simi Valley, California. The LA Daily News has more info:

The Tarzana-based Paradise Warrior Retreat will bring legends, world champions and elite coaches together with local fighters and fight fans for a one-day event that will include fights, training sessions and entertainment.

“You train with them, eat with them, party with them, get to know them,” Yoram Gazit, founder of Paradise Warrior Retreat, said in a prepared statement.

The event will feature Stephan Bonnar, Cung Le, Jon Fitch, Sokoudjou and Gokor Chivichyan as instructors.

You can get more info on the Warrior Retreat organization at their website. Clever marketing on the part of Warrior Retreat, they are thinking outside of the box and looking for markets outside of the usual seminar business.

MMA Start-Up: Uproar Magazine

June 26, 2008

A week ago I posted on monetizing your MMA passion by highlighting Garry Ibarra and his Graffight MMA clothing line. This week’s example of making your passion your career can be found in the new upstart MMA magazine Uproar. Uproar is a MMA magazine focusing on the MMA scene in Hawaii. Uproar is the brainchild of Brittany Yap and Hanalei Jaber. Both were avid fans of the local MMA scene but felt they were being underserved. The Honolulu Advertiser explains:

As their interest grew they found it difficult to find local MMA information in Hawaii, because it was mostly unorganized or nonexistent. A year ago they decided to fix that problem by doing the research themselves and came up with a business plan for the magazine. Aside from providing fight information the couple sees Uproar magazine as a way to promote new fighters, freelance writers, and fitness related businesses in Hawaii. “We want the magazine to act as a platform for people-a way to get exposure,” says Yap. The magazine will include profiles about local fighters and ring girls, health and nutritional information, and details on training centers.

That is the key in any business…. finding a constituency that isn’t being served and filling that need. You can also check out Uproar Online. It is a pretty interesting concept, a micro magazine looking to focus on a regional scene as opposed to a national one like Ultimate Grappling or Fight! Magazine. The magazine is looking to publish on a quarterly basis during it’s initial phase.

EliteXC Return of the King Rating

June 26, 2008

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (now available online at F4Wonline.com), EliteXC: Return of the King did a 1.4 rating (350,000 viewers) on Showtime on 6/14. That would seem to indicate some momentum coming out of the CBS debut as it outdrew the far more hyped Shamrock-Le event that drew a 1.2 rating. The number is good enough for fourth highest of the company’s Showtime broadcasts with what on paper would be one of the weaker cards from a star perspective.

The top five EliteXC on Showtime ratings:

  1. Kimbo Slice v. Tank Abbott – 1.9
  2. Frank Shamrock v. Baroni – 1.71
  3. Frank Shamrock v. Renzo Gracie – 1.62
  4. KJ Noons v. Yves Edwards – 1.4
  5. Frank Shamrock v. Cung Le – 1.2

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