The Ultimate Fighter Live: An Initial Review

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Marketing, PR, Social Media, UFC

Well, another two weeks of crazy work means about another two weeks without posts. Sorry folks.

While I was silent, The Ultimate Fighter returned to TV, but no longer on SPIKE but its new home and format on FX.  Initial reports have stated that the program’s ratings are significantly lower than Fox Sports and the UFC predicted – but it is early on in the season and no one should write its obituary yet.

The Ultimate Fighter was a revolutionary move by the UFC when first launched, but had started to become a bit stale and overly scripted. The new “live” format on FX first gave me doubts, but I honestly think may be game changer (god, I hate that term) the UFC was looking for. Here’s why:

  • Better Marketing.  The UFC/Fox juggernaut is holding nothing back and it shows in the quality of its commercials/promos. Rather than brief 30 second spots that are simply clips from overly produced/edit episodes we are getting promos dedicated to explaining the show, its purpose and why you should care about it. I selected a few of the more interesting ones below. (I admit I actually hate the evolution of fighting promo, but it does showcase the significant financial investment being made to explain the sport to those that may just be exposed to it.)
  • Weekly Live Fights.  Dana White has said it since they announced this and its true – the real draw to this program is the “Live” fights.  Although 2/3 of the show will be pre-recorded the final segment each week will be a live fight.  This could lead to some of the show’s best fights in its history. Why? The pressure.  These guys can’t risk a bad fight and hope that editing makes it look better a few weeks later. The world will see them test their skills and heart “live” each week.
  • Less Time in the House; More Time focused on Training.  Needing to leave a large chunk of time at the end of each episode will leave a hole in the pre-recorded content of the show. What does this mean for fans? Luckily, less time in the house and more time in the gym (in terms of what we see).  If they are to build up each fighter to the audience and show them training hard for a fight, they can’t waste our time showing how the fighters bicker over cleaning messes in the kitchen or who ate their favorite food….If you have read this blog before, you know this was the part of the show I hated most.  I always want the world to see these guys are elite athletes, not world class babies.
  • New Day/time.  Although the move to Fridays will hurt the older audience that may be out to dinner or at a bar, this day and time will help ensure the company’s future by attracting a younger audience.  Teenagers that have curfews, and still can’t get into a lot of venues that stay open late can tune in each week to watch a quality fight.  This will help keep a steady stream of new fans coming to the sport, and the UFC.
  • The Coaches.  This is more than a rivalry. With Faber and Cruz we’ll see some things we didn’t see with Bisping/Miller: an honest dislike for one another, confirmation that no matter who wins both camps will be solidly trained, and fight that has true worth at the end of the season.  Not only is this rubber match one that holds a title on the line, it is one that fans can honestly say they will tune in for.  Some rematches feel forced, or too far from the fighters’ prime. Both Cruz and Faber continue to get better and this fight holds the potential to be one for the history books.

What did you think of TUF Live so far?

  1. […] I love the live concept and hope they keep it. The only change they need to make is the day. Put this back on Wednesdays and you’ll have ratings gold.  Much like most of the target demographic, I have things to do on a Friday night… Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. […] Ultimate Fighter has finally received the “reboot” it deserved.  The Ultimate Fighter “Live” was a great concept on a horrible night. Much like most of the target demographic, as much as I […]

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