According to a new report Strikeforce may be considering adopting the pay-per-view model in the UK for future events.
MMAFA.tv cites Strikeforce Director Of Communications Mike Afromowitz as the source for their report that with the recent closure of Bravo TV which aired the promotion’s events on a tape-delay basis, they have been forced to come to an alternative arrangement, and with few other options available they believe PPV is the best solution.
This is not good news for UK fans, and it’s also unlikely to prove to be a satisfactory solution for Strikeforce either.
As I’ve stated previously regarding rumors of the UFC doing something similar, the simple fact of the matter is that UK fans have never truly embraced PPV content. In years gone by boxing went down the pay-to-view route and all but killed the popularity of the sport, which until that point had enjoyed widespread popularity on mainstream channels.
Added to this is the fact that due to the timing of live events in the US, they air in the UK at 3am. As such it’s unreasonable to expect fans to not only stay up to the wee hours of the morning, but also to pay for the privilege.
There’s also the issue of awareness of the Strikeforce brand in the UK. I’ve already argued in the past that the UFC would also struggle to make the PPV model work here, and they enjoy far more brand recognition than Strikeforce. The fact that the EA Sports MMA game, which featured Strikeforce as it’s main ‘league’, debuted at No.23 in the UK sales charts on it’s week of release last year gives some indication of the lack of awareness they have in the British Isles.
Overall it’s a sad state of affairs, and in fairness to Strikeforce, SKY’s decision to close Bravo, which several years before had been the UFC’s first home in the UK and was a consistent supporter of MMA, has somewhat tied their hands in this matter.
At the same time I’d still strongly urge Strikeforce execs to redouble their efforts to secure a television deal for their events in the UK, rather than make a pay-per-view blunder that will put a stranglehold on their ability to grow in this key market.