San Antonio Newspaper Calls Bellator Event A “Bust”
September 9, 2010
John Whisler, a sports reporter from the San Antonio Express-News was lucky enough to attend Bellator 27 and witness the great come from behind win against Joe Soto to win the Bellator featherweight title. The problem? There weren’t many other spectators to witness the great main event.
San Antonio may have seen the last of the Bellator Fighting Championships.
The Chicago-based mixed martial arts company’s return to the Alamo City on Thursday was a box-office bust, as only about 600 fans showed up to see Bellator 27 at the Majestic Theatre.
This comes on the heels of the promotion’s first show in May at the Majestic that drew an estimated crowd of 1,000… The facility seats 2,300.
“It’s something we’re going to have to reassess,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “I still think this is a great fight town. I’d love to come back here.”
John, then went to address the issue in the article, stating that not much promotion was done for the event. He then attributed Bellator’s biggest problem to be over-extension, as they schedule events around the country on a weekly basis during their seasons.
“It’s an interesting dynamic,” [Rebney] said. “Kansas City was sold out, Louisville (Ky.) was packed. Sales are going well for Philadelphia (on Oct. 21). But when you’ve got a bunch of events back-to-back, it puts you in a tough position as a promoter. Sometimes you’re going to knock it out of the park, and sometimes you’re not.”
Another interesting bit of news was released earlier today, when Bellator announced FullTiltPoker as a new sponsor. If you recall, Bellator announced a sponsorship deal with UB.net earlier this year in February, so it seems a bit odd to be naming FullTiltPoker as their new sponsor in mid-season.
Full Tilt Poker.net is pleased to announce its sponsorship of Bellator Fighting Championships – a continuing series of televised World Class Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) action presented in a unique tournament format. Now in its third season, Bellator Fighting Championships has established itself as one of the most entertaining and talent-filled mixed martial arts promotions in the world.
The next event for Bellator Fighting Championships – Bellator 28 – will take place at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in New Orleans, Thursday, September 9, 2010. This will mark the first time the fighting series has visited the Big Easy, and all the action will be broadcast live on the FOX Sports Network, along with action-packed highlight shows on NBC Saturday nights.
The series is viewed by millions of fans each month and the Thursday, September 9th event will be the first of eight nationally and internationally televised events sponsored by FullTiltPoker.net.
UPDATE: It appears that UB.net was acquired by Blanca Games on August 26, just a few weeks ago. MMAPayout is investigating whether the recent acquisition played any part in UB.net possibly not renewing their contract with Bellator. We will keep you updated…
Blanca Games, Inc. (Blanca), led by e-gaming entrepreneur Stuart Gordon, today announced that Blanca has acquired the Cereus Poker Network (Cereus), one of the largest poker networks in the world. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Blanca’s acquisition of Cereus includes the Network operations, software, the absolutepoker.com brand, and the ub.com brand. Blanca has received authorization from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) to complete the acquisition and operate the Cereus Poker Network. Stuart Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Blanca Games, said, “The acquisition of Cereus is a significant opportunity for us. Cereus is a major platform of well-managed assets. Over the past few years, it has created new brands, like ub.com, that are extremely well-positioned in the most desirable demographic in our market: players in the 20s and 30s age brackets. From our perspective, we have acquired a large, sophisticated online gaming operation with state-of-the art capabilities, ranging from compliance to business intelligence to online marketing to customer service. We see a tremendous growth opportunity in this deal and beyond, as Blanca seeks additional acquisitions in the market.”
The attendance numbers for Bellator being labeled as a “bust” are a bit misleading. Though their attendance dropped from 1,000 to 600 in their last two events in San Antonio, their bottom line is not greatly affected due to Bellator’s site-fee contracts, where it leaves the venue in charge of distributing and selling tickets. The problem lies in trying to build San Antonio into a Bellator market, which by looking at the numbers, doesn’t look to be happening. It also doesn’t bode well for Bellator’s site-fee negotiations and leverage in the future if they can’t grow their attendance numbers in these struggling markets. If it gets to that point, it may be best to move on to another market.
The news doesn’t get any better today for Bellator as they go into New Orleans for their event tonight, the same night that the NFL season opener kicks-off with the defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints taking on Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. One would expect a low attendance number again, but like Rebney said, with the week-to-week grueling season schedule Bellator has, sometimes you are going to knock it out of the park, and sometimes (which has been the case for their past two events), you’re not.