I am writing this open letter from the perspective of a concerned fan. Your promotion seems to have so many things set in place to actually make some marketing gains, yet you seem to be stumbling and quickly losing your place as the Untied State's second biggest promotion. Allow me to explain myself, while you are making gains in both fighters and partners you seem to be falling out of sight with even some of the hardcore fan base. Strikeforce it's time to get a new identity. With your recent signing of Josh Barnett, you finally have a division that you can make a legitimate claim is better then your rivals.
I would like to point out some features that I believe could put you in closer contention with the UFC. The points I am going to make is going to bother some bloggers, but it is necessary to say; you need some angles to promote your fights. Scott Coker, I really admire what you have done with your promotion but to gather the crowds you need something to sell. UFC and the WWE/WWF have used these marketing tactics for years and it has paid off in huge dividends. People know the fighters, at the bars there are hate and love for the fighters from even casual fans, ones who might see them for the first time on the countdown show. Compare that to your own product, does anyone outside of the readers of Sherdog, Bloodyelbow, MMA Junkie and other sites even know anything about Jacare. How can you expect more people to tune in without giving them a reason to care about a fighter. Sell both sides of a fight, not just one. This has burnt you multiple times. You didn't promote King Mo against Mussasi and you had an unknown champion you didnt promote Feija against King Mo, and now you once again have an unknown Light Heavyweight champion. Lets take a look at some of your recent cards:
Overall a great fight card, but it was missing as I pointed out earlier, the angles to make people interested in the fights. Outside of the most hardcore fans, no one knows anything about half the fighters on your card. It is your job to tell me who is this Jacare other then a BJJ practitioner? Bring Jacare to life, allow your fans to become personal with him. You will never win over the casual MMA fan without giving them a character to grip onto. This is why Anderson Silva PPV's sell so poorly. No one cares about him normally. I have only seen crowds fired up for him when Chael Sonnen spent months selling the fight.
Strikeforce Fedor V. Werdum
Great card overall. But where were the highlights building up the fighters. I understand UFC owns Fedor's Pride footage but where is his affliction footage at? Where is Werdum's BJJ championship footage. Where was all of the trash talk between Scott Smith and Cung Le? Who is Pat Healy? I am a hardcore fan who watches about every MMA card every month and I had to even Wiki him. Turns out hes a hell of a fighter with wins over many guys in the UFC and even former UFC title contenders. Could you not secure the footage of MFC and get him to talk about how hes coming to take over Strikeforce?
From what I understand this was thrown together to help hype EA MMA. Good job on that. Great fights, but again no real reason to watch the card other then if you knew these would be good fights.
Strikeforce Heavy Artillery
This is where your odd match making comes into play. Losers on National TV. The heavyweight title should not be a Showtime match. Everyone loves heavyweights, I don't know if its the power or the rippling muscle of Overeem's massive pecks. But what you did here is hurt further Overeem matches. No one outside of MMA's hardcore fans even know Overeem. Overeem has all the markings to be marketed as a cash cow if you use him right. Explain to your fans what K1 is, explain what ADCC is and use those to explain how good Overeem is. The average fan might just think hes a no skilled muscular guy coming into his fights, but when they understand his credentials it will make him another person to them entirely. Also let him speak more, Overeem is very good with the Mic and knows how to sell fights.
Strikeforce Nashville- Your last push on CBS. This card probably had the most effect on the current MMA rankings out of any card in recent history, but backfired in about every way possible from a casual perspective. The first thing I want you to take in is what you had going into this fight. Choose a main event. Your card had 3 main events and all were great displays of grappling. I think everyone in the MMA business knows grappling is part of the Sports side and not the entertainment. You have a captive audience of both the hardcore and casual fans with a free show like this. Use it to your advantage. Bring people into MMA. This is the type of card Cung Le or Manhoef belong on. This is the card where you bring brawlers on. Hell make a freak show match. You know I hear that Kimbo guy is kind of popular, and so is that one Bobby Lashley guy, for all I care bring in other members of the NFL hall of fame. Freakshows to draw people in and keep them. Use freakshows to get casuals hooked onto real fighters. Also add lucrative finish bonuses. You have no clue how much a finish changes the way a fight was viewed. It washes away the Lay N' Pray hate that a fight recieves.
Strikeforce Nashville also brings me to my next point. FIRE YOUR ANNOUNCING TEAM. Why in the world would the second best fight promotion in the United States have the fifth best announcing team. When a small promotion like shark fights has better announcers then you, your in trouble. Hire Bas Rutten right now, hire the Voice, hell hire anyone else.
My next piece of agenda is your CBS/Showtime deal. Get on CBS monthly or give up on that. No one outside of the hardcore fan base knows you exist, why? You are just that promotion that had that one fight on CBS. Fans can not connect to your product if you don't present it to your audience. How can you expect for your product to compete with the UFC when you are not concerned with your branding at all? Move your main cards to CBS & leave Challengers on Showtime.
Strikeforce also needs to fire their marketing team. I actually enjoy the PV videos they design. They are high quality and have awesome graphics but they have yet to "sell" me on a fight. You might want to steal some talent from the WWE or even from your partner's EA. Their Fedor Vs. Randy video is the perfect example of how to sell a fight. Notice how they talk about the history about the fighter, Randy sells the difficulty of the fight. They sell why this fight is important and BOTH sides are shown.
You guys are dropping the ball on Mahyem V Diaz, that match is falling into your lap. There is bad blood. America has seen the bad blood. These are two of your biggest stars who have a Ortiz, Shamrock level of rivalry going on. USE IT. Hell give the winner Jacare. There is some more bad blood.
Lastly, Sign some fun matches on your CBS cards. Get Bobby Lashly V. Batista, hell sign The Rock. Get those fighters who you know will scrap. Give long term contracts to guys like Houston Alexander, Scott Smith, Cung Le, and anyone else who is willing to scrap and put on a great fight. Keep working on that Co-Promotion bring in Hector Lombard, Santiago, and other stars.