Media Taking More Even-Handed Bellator Approach

Bellator CEO recently sat down for a lengthy interview with long time MMA journalist Eddie Goldman. The discussion touches on a lot different areas, and Eddie delves into good as well as the bad so far with season two of BFC. Rebney speaks to his preemption issues with FSN and the resulting problems with hitting consistent numbers, with some good talk about hard numbers as to the viewers they are capturing every week, with Rebney giving a cumulative total viewers per week across all platforms of about 1.5 to 2 million. Eddie does a good job of getting some straight talk out of Rebney, and Bjorn, while a given he wants to present a rosy picture, does give some realistic talk about what they need to do for the future. A very good interview by Eddie and I recommend you give it a listen.

Another good piece to checkout is is the MMA Fanhouse roundtable discussing Bellator. Michael David Smith and Ray Hui touch on a number of topics, not the least of which is the performance by Bellator at the box office:

. Why is Bellator faring so poorly when it comes to ticket sales?

MDS: The biggest problem is it’s just really, really hard to travel all across the country each week and do the necessary promotion to sell tickets in a new city every Thursday night. Bellator is getting good buzz from people who really love MMA, but those of us who really love MMA are still an awfully small subset of the population, and it’s hard to reach even that small subset when you’re doing it in a different part of the country each week.

RH: That’s one of the problems and that’s a shame because Bellator is a good product. Another problem is how oversaturated the MMA market is. Bellator, along with Strikeforce, is trying to prove that an MMA promotion can be successful outside of the UFC. That’s a question we don’t know the answer to yet. And with more and more local shows, more and more pay-per-views being offered, it’s getting harder to compete. It also doesn’t help that it’s difficult to market a show on a weekly basis. The UFC has Primetime and Countdown specials and tons of buzz months ahead to get fans excited to buy tickets. That’s not something Bellator can do running shows on a weekly basis.

Michael David Smith has some prescient analysis of some of the problems that Bellator is facing. MDS for my money is one of the better bloggers on MMA, and a lot of that owes to his not totally relying on the MMA market. He is one of the lead bloggers for Fanhouse in their college and pro football areas, while also contributing in MMA. Not having all his eggs in the MMA basket usually gives him an independence of thought that isn’t always seen by his brethren with the site. Overall the piece from Hui and Smith does a good job of looking at the entire picture, not just the sunny elements of the promotion that have been all the press has reported on so far. It is good to see folks like Goldman and Smith stepping a bit outside the promoter spin, looking to neither bury or glorify the promotion, but instead generate some realistic discussion of where Bellator is at in it’s business cycle.


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