In an effort to encourage people to buy the WEC’s first ever Pay-Per-View event next week, Zuffa has been keen to draw parallels between the promotion, and it’s already well established sister promotion, the UFC.
The first step was to co-brand the Apil 24th event, packaging it as ‘UFC presents WEC 48’. Interestingly the
Meanwhile, along with mentioning the event on recent UFC shows, Dana White and Joe Rogan have appeared on recent video promos to hype up the fights, much as they would for a UFC card.
On April 21st a ‘Countdown To WEC: Faber Vs Aldo’ special will be broadcast on Versus, again mirroring the countdown shows that air before major UFC shows.
Also next week you can also expect to see Dana go front and center to promote the event in the media, and in the latest development it’s been confirmed that the UFC’s well established team of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan will be on commentary duties on the night.
It’s a smart decision by Zuffa. To many casual fans the term’s ‘MMA’ and ‘UFC’ are interchangeable, and many are either unaware, or vaguely aware of the existence of other promotions such as WEC. By treating this almost as if it were a UFC event then that should help to encourage additional PPV buys outside of the hardcore fan-base.
Dana White’s involvement in particular is going to be crucial next week since he draws more media attention than any other figure in the sport, and has access to mainstream media TV and radio along with the standard MMA spots on internet and radio that the WEC normally function in.
The UFC president stated last week that he hopes the WEC event will do in the region of 150,000 buys. Going on talent alone it certainly deserves that with two terrific title fights topping the bill in Jose Aldo Vs Urijah Faber and the Ben Henderson Vs Donald Cerrone rematch.
Pay-Per-View is a tough business though, especially when your first starting out. Even the UFC have had some very disappointing numbers down in the 200-300,000 buys recently after an injury epidemic weakened their winter schedule.
The synergy between the UFC and the WEC that will be an integral part of the promotional push next week can certainly help, but my own gut feeling is that we’re perhaps looking somewhere in the region of 60,000 – 80,000 buys.
On this particular occasion I’d love to be proved wrong though.