While taping a segment on Bellator's second season for Jordan Breen's Sherdog Radio show (which will air Thursday) Jordan and I got onto the subject of the promotion's "live" spot on Fox Sports Net. To be more specific, we were talking about how Bellator is not going to be airing live for a large portion of the FSN audience due to NHL, MLB and NBA games.
Although I'm much closer to Chicago the fact that I live in Michigan puts me in the Fox Sports Detroit market. For me the show will be on a 2 hour delay, possibly longer if the Tigers game runs long. Earlier today Nate told me that he was going to be seeing the show on a 3 hour delay due to an NHL game.
This leads to the question of timing. As excited as I am for Bellator's season, and as excited as I am to watch these tournaments...I can't help but think that early April is a really odd time for them to start the season. Baseball has just started (historically people are most interested in baseball at the start and end of the season), the NHL is in it's most popular time of the season (chase for the playoffs through the Stanley Cup) and the NBA is heading toward the playoffs.
Clearly the choice may have been more in the hands of FSN than Bellator, and I'm not saying that I'm upset about weekly MMA on "free" TV. I just find it unfortunate that much of the country will not be able to plan on watching every week at a specific time as "mainstream" sports will be causing the airtimes to get bumped on a weekly basis. It's also going to make it difficult for a casual fan to feel like they can become a fan of the promotion with ease, instead having to follow a more complex schedule.
I'd love to see everyone do this: go into your channel guide, look at your FSN and just share what market you're in (FSN Detroit, FSN Anaheim...whatever) and what time this weeks event is scheduled to air. I'd like to get a feeling for what portion of the country will actually get to see Bellator as it actually takes place and what portion will be watching via a delay.