As always, the most under appreciated news coverage in MMA (read: Jordan Breen's Japanese notebook) gets the good stuff: in this case, the skinny on how DREAM's ratings on Tokyo Broadcasting System's stacked up against other sporting ventures:
The week of the telecast was a thin lineup for sports on Japan's major networks. Although Dream was the second-ranked sports program, it was beaten soundly by the July 25 telecast of the Nagoya Grand Sumo tournament, which took a 14.6 rating on NHK. For further primetime comparitive purposes, the K-1 World Grand Prix card, broadcast on June 29 on Fuji TV, drew a 11.6 rating, while the telecast of the July 7 K-1 World MAX quarterfinals took a 12.4 rating on TBS.
Meanwhile, TBS scored big with the July 30 world championship boxing doubleheader featuring Japanese flyweight world champions Takefumi Sakata and Daisuke Naito. While Sakata's title defense against Hiroyuki Hisataka enjoyed a solid quarter hour peak of 19.9, the popular Naito's tenth-round KO victory over Tomonobu Shimizu peaked with a whopping 31.7.
Ratings are particularly crucial, as FEG' did away with Hero's in favor of Dream in an attempt to rejuvenate their MMA product on television. Although FEG planned seven events, New Year's Eve not included, for 2008, their deal with TBS included only four primetime telecasts. Tanigawa's comments now place paramount importance on Dream's next primetime TBS broadcast for their Sept. 23 middleweight grand prix finale at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Emphasis mine. In short, it appears DREAM isn't offering much in the way of value-added product. While American hardcores looking for DREAM's high production values and Japanese drama salivate at the mouth every time there's a DREAM show, the Japanese have a number of alternatives - including a thrilling WBC flyweight title defense - to choose from. No, they don't all happen the same day, but if FEG can't make their product sufficiently interesting or stand out in a "crowd" so to speak, it will be difficult to generate enough interest. Admittedly, this analysis barely scratches the surface of why DREAM is experiencing problems, but it's worth noting nonetheless.