May 16, 2013
The Sports Business Journal reports on Georges St. Pierre’s health and fitness app as the latest in his portfolio of sponsorships. In addition to his recently released book, “The Way of the Fight,” GSP has been tabbed to do voiceover work for the animated film, “Monsters University.”
GSP remains busy despite successfully defending his title last month against Nick Diaz. The app comes due to the collaboration between GSP’s agents at CAA and developer Zolmo. The app, named “Touchfit” is $6.99 and GSP has an equity stake in the venture although specifics were not mentioned.
GSP’s agent at CAA, Nez Balelo, detailed the difficulty he had at first in finding sponsors for GSP as he had to educate them on who he is and what he did. The article notes that Gatorade and Under Armour were the two big deals that separated GSP from other MMA fighters in terms of sponsorship.
In addition, TheStar.com (of Toronto) reports that he will voice a character in the Quebec French language version of the prequel to Monsters, Inc.
The GSP brand continues to roll. The app coincides with the release of his book, “The Way of the Fight.” GSP’s voicework on the Quebecois/French Canadian version of “Monsters University” is his second film this year as he was tabbed to play a villain in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” slated for release next year. GSP has carved out a solid portfolio of work that will eventually carry him to his post-UFC career.
May 10, 2013
MMA Junkie reports that the UFC has launched a fee-based subscription service with YouTube. The UFC is one of several channels that is part of a YouTube Pilot Program that subscribers can pay a fee to watch its programming.
“UFC Select” offers a 2 week free trial but will be $5.99 per month. Eight fights will be introduced into the channels’ rotation each week. Old episodes of The Ultimate Fighter will also be shown on the channel.
The launch of fee-based subscription services is a step toward a la carte programming.
This is a solid business move, even if advertising will almost certainly remain YouTube’s main source of income. It helps YouTube promote itself as a complete video delivery platform by giving producers yet another way to earn money there.
The article suggests that the subscription model will do well with sports channels such as the UFC.
It will be interesting to see how well the UFC channel does. What does it mean for the UFC programming on Fox Sports 1? Why watch something you will have to pay for if you can get it through cable. Certainly, the pay channel will have some fights not available on television, but will it be worth it to the casual viewer? Notably, the WWE declined having a paid channel and moved to Yahoo! But, TNA Wrestling has a YouTube channel which will have its content.
May 2, 2013
UltimatePoker.com launched this week as the first legally operated online gambling web site in Nevada. The site, owned by the Fertittas passed a bill granting legal online gambling a couple months ago.
Ultimate Poker has been advertising with the UFC since last year in anticipation of this launch. As many recall, US legislation banned online gambling sites. Delaware and New Jersey have passed legislation for online gaming but have no sites in those states have launched.
Via MMA Junkie (via USA Today)
Games will be as small as 25-cent bet tournaments and $300 limit table. The company believes the games will be a complement to casino gambling and not a competitor. The goal is to allow players who may be intimidated in a casino or otherwise more comfortable in an online setting.
This investment could prove to be a boon for the Fertittas. Online poker was one of the driving forces behind The World Series of Poker phenomenon which had ESPN airing hours upon hours and multiple-versions of the poker tournament. With legislation passed in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, we can see more poker sites going up which may mean, in an indirect way, more sponsorship opportunities in MMA (pinpointing on the young male demo).
April 17, 2013
The Sports Business Journal recently ran an in depth section focusing on the importance of content. One of its features included Top Rank Boxing and its strategy of producing its own feed for PPVs with the future hope that fans will turn to its web site as opposed to cable and satellite providers.
When subscribers pay $60 for a PPV, half of it goes to cable and satellite companies. Top Rank is attempting to cut into that pie by offering its own broadcast on its web site. Top Rank has teamed with MLB Advanced Media in developing content for its web site and offering its own production of its events. This includes its own feed of the PPV with its own camera angles and broadcast team.
Top Rank states that 3,000 people paid the same amount charged by satellite and cable providers for Pacquiao-Marquez IV. The belief is that with the growing amount of cord-cutters, the number of those ordering PPV online in the future will increase.
In addition to airing PPVs, the Top Rank site includes weigh-ins, interviews and behind the scenes content.
The UFC has looked into partnering with XBox in hopes of finding alternatives than the traditional PPV measures. The one issue pointed out in the SBJ piece is that a move to online PPV eliminates the promotional assets of the satellite and cable companies. This is something that boxing and the UFC rely on in promoting its upcoming events. The other issue is the reliance of live streaming. Several organizations including Invicta and the WWE have experienced technical difficulties during its live events. This can be a big issue if the platform becomes unreliable. But, turning to its own self-production of its product can mean bigger profits for the company.
February 28, 2013
Spike TV launched an iPad and iPhone App to be used while watching Bellator MMA. According to the press release, the App will give users real time fight data as they watch the event.
Via press release:
When the Bellator cage door closes and the gloves touch, the innovative app works in concert with the live Spike broadcast to supply fans with real-time fight data only available through the app. Developed from the ground up to make watching live fights more immersive, viewers will have the unique ability to track expansive fighter analytics and participate in the on-air broadcast. As “The 4th Judge,” fans can score rounds with the help of real-time statistics powered by CompuStrike, a service providing data in 26 categories from arm strikes to submission attempts.
“The Bellator app is truly the first of its kind. It allows our passionate fans to experience the fight as a virtual fourth judge – creating a level of immersion that’s unparalleled in any sport,” said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President, Sports and Multiplatform Events, Spike TV. ”We see this second-screen as a game-changer. The results from the app will actually become part of the on-air discussion. There’s nothing like that in all of sports television.”
“At Bellator, we continually look for new ways to connect with our fans in a more meaningful way,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “This innovative app will resonate with our first-adopter audience, who will feel closer to the action than ever before.”
As “The 4th Judge,” viewers will be able to have their opinions known during the live telecast. The Bellator broadcast team of Jimmy Smith and Sean Wheelock will announce the results of viewers’ polling to see how fan opinion compares to their own as well as the official cageside judges. (“The 4th Judge” voting will not factor in the actual judges’ decisions).
The app features historical statistics for every fighter, pre-fight fan picks, and “Favorite Fight of the Night” polling, which will be sharable via social networks. The Bellator MMA app also gives fans the opportunity to watch exclusive videos, and dig deep into fighter biographies.
Spike TV worked with Omnigon Communications to develop the App.
Multi-tasking is something that most of us do all of the time. When watching Bellator or UFC, most check tweets to see what others are saying about the fights. Its a good source of information and social interaction. Hence, the Bellator App will create a center for fans to go. The statistics and “The 4th Judge,” feature will create discussion among fans and another way to connect.
February 13, 2013
MMA Fighting reports that Comcast and Fox have struck a deal which will allow Fuel TV on Xfinity cable. The deal improves the viewership audience by an estimated 22 million based on the number of Xfinity cable customers.
Terms of the deal were not available but the deal means that a whole new audience of viewers will be able to see Fox’s 20 broadcast outlets including the UFC on Fuel TV.
According to the Comcast press release (via deadline.com), the retransmission deal will include the opportunity for the companies to engage in new multi-platform offerings. Thus, we can expect more collaboration online and other digital media offerings.
The deal makes sense for both companies and will aid Fox’s rebranding of its networks – notably, Fox Sports 1 and 2. As we know, Fuel TV (and UFC programming) will end up on one or both of these networks. It also opens up more ways for the UFC to engage with viewers. Certainly, there will be online integration as Xfinity customers will have the opportunity to access content on Fox’s websites and application. It will be interesting to see how the UFC and Fox decide how to engage its audience via online content on Fox’s end. Overall, the deal means that the UFC will have a broader audience as Fuel TV will be available to 22 million more potential viewers.
January 7, 2013
MMA Junkie reports on the botched Internet PPV plans of Invicta FC this past weekend. It was the organization’s first attempt at PPV and many attempting to watch the iPPV were unable to view it after paying.
The organization used USTREAM, an online live streaming platform, on Saturday night. Unfortunately, people had problems.
Via MMA Junkie:
Some said they spent a half-hour or more trying to get USTREAM to accept their payment so they could watch the event. Others paid for a stream that wouldn’t start or simply wouldn’t stop crashing in the middle of fights.
Invicta CEO Shannon Knapp acknowledged the issue and promised to refund those that paid for the PPV and requested that the pay wall be taken down. Invicta could not contact anyone from USTREAM about the problem on Saturday night.
The USTREAM CEO offered an apology after the fact and placed fault on his company. He cited the demand for the $7.95 live PPV as the reason it had problems.
Knapp remained even keel about the problem as she cited that the event on Saturday had 3,000 pre-sale purchases and stated 70,000 viewers joined the streaming once the pay wall went down.
Can we trust technology? Wrestling organization Ring of Honor has had iPPV problems in the past. Live streaming always seems easy but when a pay wall is involved things appear to go haywire. The problems experienced by USTREAM had to be the worst thing for Invicta considering the number of potential buys reflect a loss of a lot of revenue. And for a small company, it has to hurt that Invicta gave a refund back to those that paid for the stream. Still, the refund was the right thing to do. Knapp stated on Sherdog Rewind that the goal of the iPPV was not to generate money but to show potential television buyers the interest of the product. From a PR perspective, it had to minimize the damage and having some people pay while others did not would only cause more headaches. As it is, its likely that the iPPV venture likely became a money loser. Knapp can turn this issue into a positive by citing the number of those interested in her product, but the execution of this event can be seen as a reflection on the organization.
December 15, 2012
Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post. This week we look at TNA’s venture into lottery tickets, reduction in PPVS and the WWE’s iPad App.
TNA agrees to pact with lottery ticket maker
MDI Entertainment, LLC has signed a deal with TNA wrestling for lottery branded scratch tickets with images of TNA stars. The agreement includes images on promo materials as well as the possibility of personal appearances and public service announcements. The agreement includes the possibility of second chance prizes including the possibility of TNA merchandise and/or trips to TNA events.
(H/t: Cageside Seats)
Payout Take: A good partnership for both companies as it allows some promotion of the TNA brand and it gives the company some exposure to a greater population of people.
WWE’s iPad App offers second screen experience and PPVs
Last week, the WWE began promoting a second screen experience entitled “WWE Active” which allows users of the App access to additional information including polls, trivia and the opportunity to watch backstage features during the live edition of RAW. In addition, the WWE announced that users could eventually order PPVs on the App which would allow mobile access to watch WWE PPVs
Payout Take: The WWE iPad App is very popular with 2.7 million downloads in 215 countries. Having used the app, it definitely is one of the better free downloads for iPad users. The move to utilize the app to include additional original content allows more interaction with its fans. The PPV component is one way to monetize the app and give fans another way to access the WWE.
TNA reduces PPV schedule
The Wrestling Observer (subscription required) reported that TNA Wrestling will be reducing its total PPVs for 2013 from 12 to 10. This would allow for better buildup between pay per views.
Payout Take: Less is more. This is a good move by the company as it can build on storylines and hype the matches for a PPV. The move should help with overall PPV sales for the year and shave down production costs for two less PPVs.
November 14, 2012
The UFC will have some of its roster out out movie theatres this weekend in support of the movie theatre showings of UFC 154. Demetrious Johnson, Donald Cerrone, Cub Swanson and Daniel Cormier are some of the names that will be in attendance at the movies watching GSP vs. Condit in the main event.
In conjunction with Fathom Events, the UFC will show the upcoming PPV featuring the return of GSP on selected movie screens across the US. To boost attendance, the UFC has deployed its roster of fighters across the country to attend the showings.
Having UFC stars at the theatres is a nice way to support this endeavor. The full roster is here. Although you will not run into Anderson Silva or Junior dos Santos at your local movie theatre, having the appearances offers a chance for fans to meet a UFC fighter. It shows that the UFC is seriously exploring this platform to determine whether to back this showing of its PPVs.
August 1, 2012
There will be a new camera angle for the nation when viewers tune into the UFC on Fox 4 this Saturday. Fox issued a press release Wednesday stating that it was introducing the “Ref Cam.”
As many recall, the Pride organization in Japan had a “Ref Cam” which gave viewers at home a direct view into what the ref was witnessing.
Via MMA Junkie:
According to a release from FOX, the camera will be positioned at the top button of the referee’s shirt during matches. The camera is powered by a lithium ion battery with a transmitter under the ref’s shirt in a vest.
It has been subtle, but Fox has introduced several new camera angles with its FX UFC Prelim events. The “Ref Cam” is another innovation that brings a different perspective of the action. It also may help educate the novice MMA fan through closer views of what is going on with different positions and holds when the fighters are on the ground. Another benefit of the “Ref Cam” is that it will help the UFC determine whether or not the ref is in position during a match. We’ll see if the new camera angles will help bring viewers.