Mainstream Hits a Speed Bump: ESPN vs UFC

Posted: October 19, 2010 in Marketing, PR, Social Media, UFC

ESPN & UFC in happier times

Bad PR move (slap), bad! Go sit in the corner until I say otherwise…

Sigh…so close…so close, I could almost taste it.  Given the exposure the UFC and MMA has been receiving of late, I was almost ready to recant my stance on whether or not MMA is mainstream.  Well, it looks like I may not have to.

This weekend was UFC 120.  As you saw from my post yesterday, not a barn burner that I was all jazzed for.  However, what I did love was that it was free on SPIKE TV.  Now, there are caveats to having a free fight program.  The UFC provides the free card for TV viewers because they know European card results have a way of being leaked by press/bloggers back to the U.S. before a program airs “live”.  Let’s be honest, who is going to shell out $40-50 bucks for an event if they know how it ends hours before?

Well, apparently, fans did not like that many news outlets like ESPN were posting the results as they occurred.  The problem is that fans took frustration out on UFC President Dana White on Twitter who then lashed out at the media. 

*Deeper sigh*

C’mon! The UFC has been fighting so hard to get MMA coverage in respectable outlets – like ESPN – and shouldn’t be mad for this type of coverage to be taking place.  Real-time coverage of the event shows A) There is an interest from fans and B) the sport has enough legitimacy that top-tier sports outlets WANT to cover it as it unfolds.  My fear is that an outburst like this can get the sport blacklisted and back to the days of only reading about it from smaller outlets.

That is the PR guy in me; the fan in me has a much quicker statement: Fellow fans if you don’t want to know about something until you watch it then stay clear of sports reports/programs! It’s not that hard. It’s like if you DVR a TV show and want to watch it later, you avoid talking to friends until you watch it. C’mon guys, we’re fight fans – not babies – so let’s act like it.

  1. […] to the PR guy in me) this ad also means that there is no ill will toward the UFC or MMA as a whole after the recent Twitter activity surrounding UFC  […]

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