First things first:
1. I originally intended to draft a post in response to dropkick’s well written but absolutely unrealistic post about Affliction possibly doing anywhere near 200,000 PPV buys.
2. The majority of the BE community has already expressed their belief that dropkick’s hypothesis is unrealistic. Suffice to say that as it stands Affliction will most likely do around 50K – 75K PPV buys if that. They will most likely lose a hefty sum again on this event. If, as mentioned by Michael Rome, Affliction will spend upwards of 2 million on the Fedor fight alone their loss will probably be comparable to their first show.
However – the way for Affliction to move their way into profitability and success is clear:
Sign Kimbo Slice.
I think everyone here has no doubt at all that Kimbo is a huge draw. He is a much bigger draw than both Arlovski and Fedor put together. Despite his loss, Kimbo will still attract media attention and lots of PPV buys. Thus, the Affliction business plan for the next show should be as follows.
Sign Kimbo Slice. He should be matched up against Ken Shamrock OR failing that then Frank Shamrock or someone else with a name, maybe a Gracie? Cesar Gracie perhaps?
This fight is guaranteed to attract media attention.
Hype the event in the right way. Tom Atencio’s exact words should be something like this (if they sign Ken Shamrock):
“We know that the public wanted to see this fight. Everyone wanted to see it. We had this great fight card with the best fighter in the world taking on arguably the second best fighter. But we also know that people want to see Kimbo fight as well. We’re happy to oblige. But make sure you take note that the two guys fighting in the main event would absolutely crush Brock Lesnar. These guys are the legit best fighters in the world.” Then cue some garbage about how Fedor absolutely pounded on Heath Herring much worse than Lesnar did.
Insist that people who want to do interviews with Kimbo and Shamrock also include coverage of Fedor. Hype everything about him, how he is undefeated, how he is Vladimir Putin’s best friend, etc etc. Make sure Kimbo also acknowledges that Fedor is incredible and tells everyone he meets. Get Kimbo on Jimmy Kimmel and talk about his loss and how he was just starting out and how everyone gets caught. Reference that Chuck got brutally knocked out and so did Randy Couture. Then let the world know that Fedor has never been knocked out or even knocked down. Also let the world know that Fedor beat down on Lesnar’s next opponent twice. Let Kimbo tell the world that fighting Fedor is what he’s aiming for and that MMA is a developing sport and Fedor is King. If possible get Fedor and his translator on Jimmy Kimmel with Kimbo. Get Kimmel to crack some joke about how he seems like the nicest guy and then air the footage or Fedor destroying Sylvia. Try to get Arlovski some media attention and utilise the footage of his beat down of Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson. The Rothwell fight in particularly was pretty epic.
Most importantly – leverage the Kimbo attraction to hype Fedor. Make sure the world knows that Kimbo is a star and a great upcoming fighter but that Fedor is currently considered the number one fighter on the planet.
(This one is a bit unrealistic but maybe it could happen).
BEG a basic cable channel to air 30 minutes of build up for the Affliction PPV. Pay them handsomely. Maybe do what Obama did and just purchase 30 minutes worth of primetime TV. Alternatively - use preexisting links to Showtime or CBS to get 30 minutes build up. Use the time to hype both Kimbo-Shamrock fight and Fedor-Arlovski fight. Also do brief hypes on potential break out stars like Chris Horodecki. Make sure that the show is perfect and everybody who watches the build-up show wants to spend $40 on a PPV. Hope that the show draws a decent number of eye-balls.
Again – I think step three is unrealistic because Affliction doesn’t have the budget OR the time but if they can somehow get together then this will be a great help.
During the PPV hype the Fedor fight. Hype it bigtime just before the Kimbo fight. Everyone who’s watching must understand how great Fedor is. Given a 3 hour PPV and some quick fights there should be plenty of time to allow a hype machine to go all out. The broadcast team should be extremely well briefed on who Fedor is.
Hope that both Kimbo and Fedor win. Hope that Fedor looks amazing destroying Arlovski in brutal fashion. It’s not the end of the world is either of them lose but it’ll make things more difficult. Also hope that the event is amazing and everyone who watches will come back and buy the next PPV.
The most important thing that Affliction needs is eyeballs. If they have a large number of eyeballs then this can potentially set them up with a good long term outlook.
Affliction need a Griffin-Bonnar moment that can set them up as a potential rival to the UFC. The problem that Elite XC had was they based their promotion around Kimbo who wasn’t a legit fighter. The difference between that and TUF was that anyone watching TUF would have understood that Griffin and Bonnar were students and the Randy and Chuck were the coaches. By definition people would have then understood that either Randy or Chuck would destroy Griffin or Bonnar. This built the legitimacy of the two legends and allowed them to become mainstream stars.
The same needs to occur with Affliction. Kimbo has to be seen acknowledging that he’s still learning and that Fedor and Arlovski are the guys at the top. That way everyone who watches will be intrigued by how good these guys really are.
If DOR is a really good watch then people will come back and Affliction will have a fair amount of goodwill among customers. They could then utilise the pre-existing relationship with Elite XC to try to leverage a Showtime deal etc etc.
The reality is that Affliction are going to lose a couple of mil on this show. If they really want this MMA venture to succeed they should roll the dice and shell out about a million more for Kimbo and related expenses. This may actually give them a fighting chance (no pun intended).
For the record – I think Affliction will be toast pretty soon. If not before this event then definitely after. I also don’t really imagine any other way they can build a large customer/fan base before this event. If they lose a huge amount of money again then they’ll go back to their clothing business and their all new ‘dream team’. (http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Affliction-Clothing-Takes-Contemporary-Fashion/story.aspx?guid=%7BE4D74081-A38E-4011-9C5B-E0408BFA3267%7D)
My opinion is that this is perhaps the only way the Affliction can build big exposure quickly.
Maybe they could also sign Gina Carano from under Dana’s nose! (Note: this wouldn’t have the same impact as a Kimbo signing because they cannot leverage of Gina’s popularity to hype Fedor.)
(Get Fedor to ask Vladimir Putin to come to the US to sit and watch the fight!)
Don’t put Ozzie Osbourne or any other crap heavy-metal bands on the PPV. I for one did not at all appreciate the heavy metal band at the Affliction show. I’m there to watch MMA. And I like the Backstreet Boys. Keep the atmosphere resembling a sporting event. License Gladistor style music.