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Art Vandelay

BT Sport loses UFC rights

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5 minutes ago, D@mm said:

Any idea on pricing plans for Eleven Sports in the UK, I just. went on there website and couldn't find where to sign up.

You can’t sign up yet. Pricing hasn’t been released but rumours and leaked screenshots from their site showed £8 per month.

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23 minutes ago, D@mm said:

Ok cheers Art, so can we sign up on August 9th then ?

Probably before, I’d imagine. The service launches on the 9th. Who knows...they’re playing it all very quietly at the moment.

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2 hours ago, David said:

The only problem is, that's the same route that boxing took back in the day, and it didn't do that sport much good at all. Took it absolutely ages to recover, actually.

The media environment is different, now. Pick-and-mix subscription services are all the rage outside of sports broadcasting, and networks/promoters have rolled the dice on that eventually finding its way to them: they're just trying to get out in front.

The last remaining solid, free-to-air only viewers are the ones that inflate the figures - not massively interested, but it's on so they'll watch it. Historically, those people have been able to be converted into paying customers, in one form of other (ticket sales, merch, potential PPV buys) fairly easily and as such free-to-air was a massive part of the leveraging strategy to monetise your content. Unfortunately, now, those free-to-air viewers are way more stubborn, by and large, and their eyeballs remain exactly that... eyeballs. Content has become so throwaway in the digital age that there's a lot of people that simply don't see the value in paying for anything - sports, music, tv, film. The old model is dead because people have stopped playing their part - actually buying something at the end of it.

Nowadays, if a boxing PPV is announced, as an example, the major response is 'RIP OFF', 'NOT WORTH IT' or 'I can just get a stream anyway'. Large swathes of people who would create impressive viewing figures on a FTA platform are largely useless from a business perspective, as they don't engage beyond what they get for free.

It's why more and more you're seeing content strategies that involve things like facebook streams, which can be marketed directly to people with an affinity to that content who might not be a directly engaged, high-indexing fan (so they could have, at some point, engaged with other similar content on their profile), as those people are more likely to convert. The free-to-air, linear net is way too ineffective now. If I had the reigns of power somewhere to make all the calls, i'd air all prelims on social media, aggressively targeting people that have been empirically proven to be in someway interested in my product, air all main cards on a moderately priced subscription service (competitive with direct competitors and competitors like Netflix and Amazon - the value society attributes to content has put PPV on death row), and use a wide influencer network to try and reach out beyond my established demographics.

Simply having a lot of people watching your product is almost pointless now. Its a wide net, that can often come at significant cost to the content provider, but historically was lucrative because ad revenue was better, the media landscape wasn't so fragmented and people were more willing to spend money on content. That's not the case now. The tools exist to target people directly if they are designated as having a propensity to subscribe. You can cut straight to the pay part, without giving your premium content away for free with no commercial gain. 

Edited by d-d-d-dAz

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It strikes me as a rather ill-judged move that's failed to take into account one salient, major point: the global economy still hasn't properly recovered yet, and the majority of people who could be MMA fans probably still can't afford to shell out for PPV easily. It might have been wiser for them to wait a few years. Don't know why they couldn't; a company as big as WME should be able to do that.

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I think the economy is probably as recovered as it's ever going to be, and we're more likely to see another recession than we are a boom.

But, i agree with you point about PPV... not necessarily because people can't afford it, though that plays a factor, but because it is so anachronistic set against the realities of how people consume content these days.

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I think it would be wise for Eleven Sports to pick and choose their moments with PPVs like Sky Sports used to do with WWE.  I think the IFW, MSG and NYE cards are three that they could argue is worth putting behind the pay wall, plus the ad hoc one or two. 

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12 hours ago, d-d-d-dAz said:

The media environment is different, now. Pick-and-mix subscription services are all the rage outside of sports broadcasting, and networks/promoters have rolled the dice on that eventually finding its way to them: they're just trying to get out in front.

The last remaining solid, free-to-air only viewers are the ones that inflate the figures - not massively interested, but it's on so they'll watch it. Historically, those people have been able to be converted into paying customers, in one form of other (ticket sales, merch, potential PPV buys) fairly easily and as such free-to-air was a massive part of the leveraging strategy to monetise your content. Unfortunately, now, those free-to-air viewers are way more stubborn, by and large, and their eyeballs remain exactly that... eyeballs. Content has become so throwaway in the digital age that there's a lot of people that simply don't see the value in paying for anything - sports, music, tv, film. The old model is dead because people have stopped playing their part - actually buying something at the end of it.

Nowadays, if a boxing PPV is announced, as an example, the major response is 'RIP OFF', 'NOT WORTH IT' or 'I can just get a stream anyway'. Large swathes of people who would create impressive viewing figures on a FTA platform are largely useless from a business perspective, as they don't engage beyond what they get for free.

It's why more and more you're seeing content strategies that involve things like facebook streams, which can be marketed directly to people with an affinity to that content who might not be a directly engaged, high-indexing fan (so they could have, at some point, engaged with other similar content on their profile), as those people are more likely to convert. The free-to-air, linear net is way too ineffective now. If I had the reigns of power somewhere to make all the calls, i'd air all prelims on social media, aggressively targeting people that have been empirically proven to be in someway interested in my product, air all main cards on a moderately priced subscription service (competitive with direct competitors and competitors like Netflix and Amazon - the value society attributes to content has put PPV on death row), and use a wide influencer network to try and reach out beyond my established demographics.

Simply having a lot of people watching your product is almost pointless now. Its a wide net, that can often come at significant cost to the content provider, but historically was lucrative because ad revenue was better, the media landscape wasn't so fragmented and people were more willing to spend money on content. That's not the case now. The tools exist to target people directly if they are designated as having a propensity to subscribe. You can cut straight to the pay part, without giving your premium content away for free with no commercial gain. 

Boxing today has it perfect in my opinion, where there are still plenty of shows on "regular" subscription television (ie; Sky) which allows them to build up their stars before throwing them onto PPV.

Eddie Hearn, as much as some people dislike him personally, has done a very good job of making sure the stars within his ranks are getting exposure on Sky Sports, helping to build them up for PPV outings down the line.

I'm not entirely sure how the UFC, with viewing figures dwindling as it is, can expect to see more fans invest money in their PPV shows when the stars of those future PPV's will, for the most part, be available via some online app.

I seriously doubt that this is a deal that the Fertitta's would have taken, as it's essentially rolling back all of the work done to this point to get the product in front of as many people as possible.

Much like the current way of doing things from a fighting perspective, such as interim titles, WCW-esque booking and so on, I think this deal is simply a case of the ownership saying "Who's offering the most money? Take it! Fuck what it does to the company long-term, because we'll not be here anyway!"

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FWIW, like I’ve said, I don’t disagree with PPV - particularly as concerns UFC, I think it’s hard to justify them putting on PPV. I also think the Matchroom model of PPV, as cleverly curated by Big Ed as it has been, is on its last run.

I don’t see the difference between a sky subscription and paid streaming though, which you seemed to be against on the last page. They’re the same, but a different access point. The US market is a little ahead in terms of their adoption, but soon that will be the norm here too.

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What are the chances that Lorenzzo and Uncle Frank swoop back in down the line, save the world and buy back the UFC for less than they sold it for? 

Have either spoken about the UFC since selling up? 

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12 minutes ago, Silky Kisser said:

What are the chances that Lorenzzo and Uncle Frank swoop back in down the line, save the world and buy back the UFC for less than they sold it for? 

Have either spoken about the UFC since selling up? 

Ha! It'll be like when Mr Burns sold the power plant to the Germans. 

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27 minutes ago, d-d-d-dAz said:

FWIW, like I’ve said, I don’t disagree with PPV - particularly as concerns UFC, I think it’s hard to justify them putting on PPV. I also think the Matchroom model of PPV, as cleverly curated by Big Ed as it has been, is on its last run.

I don’t see the difference between a sky subscription and paid streaming though, which you seemed to be against on the last page. They’re the same, but a different access point. The US market is a little ahead in terms of their adoption, but soon that will be the norm here too.

I'm not so sure about the Matchroom PPV model being on its last legs really. So long as they continue to create stars and "names" on a decent level there's going to be a market, isn't there?

If they done away with PPV tomorrow, how do they proceed? Stick Joshua on Sky Sports? put him on Sky Go or something for a fiver a month? You think a Joshua stream will sell as well as a Joshua PPV in crisp, lovely HD with no connection issues?

You only have to look at some of the points made by posters on here regarding paid streaming. And those guys are die-hard fans.

Also, if you look at the programming that ESPN is putting on their streaming app, none of it is the staple shows they have on their television channels. It's all additional "bonus" content. 

If the UFC were simply switching to ESPN with their shows being replayed on the app, and bonus material being shown, such as Ariel's show etc then fair enough, but that's not the case. ESPN are essentially toying with the idea of an app, and while they aren't willing to risk any of their proper sports programming on something that may very well fail, they're happy to stick the UFC on it.

Anyone who sees the UFC going from BT Sports coverage in the UK, and FOX coverage in the US to some obscure channel in the UK that isn't even on Sky or Virgin from what I gather, and an ESPN app in the States as a good move long-term is insane in my opinion.

As I said, these new owners seem to have realised that while the purchase of this hot, new sport seemed cool at the time, they're vastly under-qualified to run it, and as such they're losing money by the bucketloads. 

Now they're basically going all-out to try and secure as much of their investment as possible, at which point they will sell, trust me. 

The biggest question is what the fuck will be left over by the time they bail?

A niche sport that reaches a fraction of the viewers that it once did in both the US and UK, and a roster and title scene that is a joke.

Ask yourself, seriously, what fans are going to buy this ElevenSports app for eight quid so they can stream an event at 3am when there's plenty of free or less costly streaming offerings out there?

The attraction of BT was the ability to watch a show without buffering, without lag, no loss of HD, and the ability to record it and watch it later.

At the end of the day, a stream is a stream. I certainly won't be paying £8 a month to see UFC on this new channel, not a fucking chance. I can get a high-quality streaming service that offers me every sports channel known to man for a tenner a month, so why the fuck would I pay £8 for just UFC?

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Other thing to bear in mind is that this is now potentially an opportunity for Bellator - they could get themselves on BT Sport and get an immediate shit-ton more exposure than they've had previously in the UK. And BT might go for it because it wouldn't be as expensive as UFC.

How did people on here watch Bellator before?

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Quote

 

Ask yourself, seriously, what fans are going to buy this ElevenSports app for eight quid so they can stream an event at 3am when there's plenty of free or less costly streaming offerings out there?

The attraction of BT was the ability to watch a show without buffering, without lag, no loss of HD, and the ability to record it and watch it later.

 

Yep. I remember signing up to Setanta(?) sports back in the day for UFC & I got such a shitty signal (via Sky!) that I binned it off & went back to ordering events from 'tape traders' a few days after they'd aired.

If the PPV model is bringing in less revenue then they'll have to take notice of the music industry & react in the same way (after streaming services killed record sales). More live shows but in order to keep demand for tickets high you need your product to be easily seen. Making it more difficult for people to keep up to date with the sport can only hurt live sales in the long run. 'UFC FIGHT NIGHT BIRMINGHAM -  Featuring a bunch of guys you don't know because you can now only watch it via some obscure streaming app'.

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