It looks like MMA fever has hit the networks, although we still have to wait and see if said networks will fan the flames of the sport or dose it with medication and wait for it to go away. First EliteXC scored a deal with CBS, and now Strikeforce is headed to NBC:
As part of the NBC deal, fight footage from past Strikeforce events will likely be shown in “highlights” shows, not unlike the Pride Fighting Championships shows that currently air on Fox Sports Net. The first Strikeforce show is expected to air in mid-April.
The program will likely air on late Saturday nights (early Sunday mornings) either immediately after or soon after the hit NBC series, “Saturday Night Live.”
Although unconfirmed, there’s speculation that the deal could possibly lead to live or, at the very least, tape-delayed Strikeforce events airing on NBC. However, other than the weekly highlights show, few other details of the deal are known at the time.
There’s a few questions that need to be asked now:
- What kind of deal was this? Is Strikeforce basically paying for the TV time just like Bowflex or Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer, or are they making scratch out of this?
- What kind of exposure can they hope to get out of this deal, and how will that exposure translate into their bottom line?
The IFL proved that greater exposure doesn’t always equal more profit. Despite the fact that they were on a variety of TV networks for a good chunk of 2007, they still never managed to sell more than 1500 tickets to most of their shows (which is pitiful).
I’m excited about the prospect of Strikeforce on TV, but a few weeks of grim speculation on the fate of the EliteXC/CBS deal has everyone realizing that network TV != instant success. EliteXC has a pretty big challenge ahead of it, and if it wants to succeed it will need the support of it’s network. Strikeforce is in a bit more of a comfortable position where there’s less pressure to succeed, but less upside too. There will be no Bonnar/Griffin moments occuring at 2am to break the company into the mainstream.