Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Promoting 101

"Godz of War" is the latest upstart to shit the bed, which, after a glance at their proposed card and venue choice, should come as no surprise to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the industry. Come on, all you kids out there looking to put on an MMA show. You should know better! And if you don't know better, here are some simple rules.

Rule #1: Local fighters sell tickets. Regardless of your PPV deal, your big revenue stream is going to come from ticket sales. Period. And no one at your Atlantic City event is shelling out dough to see Joe Doerksen fight; therefore, his airfare, hotel, meals and purse are going to cost you more than you will make on him. No offence to Doerksen, but far more people are going to buy tickets to see local karate school owner Roger Dingbat compete than an accomplished UFC/IFL/WEC veteran. It's sad but true.

Rule #2: Don't spend more than you make. D'uh. If you fly in fighters from American Top Team, Brazilian Top Team, MFS or wherever, odds are that you're paying more for them than they will earn for you (see Rule #1). If you pay for a band to play in between fights, or some aspiring rappers, or some coke-addled dancing girls, is that really adding value to your show? Are those pyrotechnics really necessary?

Rule #3: Brand recognition only works for the UFC. The UFC could put together a card full of homeless men and orangutans and people will come to see it based on the UFC name alone. You are not going to have that same luck. Really. No one gives a crap that your show is called the "Mega Awesome Combat League" or "Totally Radical Championship". A small percentage of people will buy tickets because they want to see fights and the rest will buy tickets to see fighters they care about. That's your audience. Try to remember that.

These are just three basic rules, but there are more. To their credit, the folks behind Godz of War cancelled before their show, thereby saving themselves a ton in inevitable losses. Hopefully, if they come back, they'll approach things a little smarter - and keep these rules in mind.