With unemployment approaching 10-percent across the country will the fight world's economic model of 20-plus pay-pay-view cards in 2009 cost it audience? UFC president Dana White addressed the topic of the economy and the adjustments his company has made. The UFC will televise an approximate total of 10 fight cards on pay-per-view in 2009. Thrown in boxing's 10-plus PPVs, that's a lot of cash to request from a struggling economy. White says right now the model is working for the UFC but it is being closely monitored:
"We're tip toeing around this thing and trying to figure it out. My big (expletive) thing is not to gouge the fans in anyway," said White. The UFC currently charges $44.95 for standard definition and $54.95 for hi-definition on its pay-per-views. "If you don't think that we have a CFO, (expletive) aggressive guys in the company who want to raise pay-per-view and do all this (expletive), I won't do it. I'll (expletive) go on record right now, I will not raise pay-per-view. It's one of the things I hate about boxing."
Watch White talk about the money issues in sports (1:04 mark):
With all that on the table, is this the right time for Zuffa's lighter weight promotion, World Extreme Cagefighting, to get into the PPV business? Ariel Helwani from Versus.com is reporting that WEC's president Peter Dropick is ready to announce a pay-per-view:
Yup, we are looking at doing a June one now. It could be as soon as then, if not, my guess is that it would probably be early in the fall. And that would be the (Urijah) Faber - (Mike) Brown rematch.
The timing is curious. The June schedule is filling up fast with UFC 99 on the 13th and The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale on the 20th. Unless WEC plans on a Sunday night PPV, that only leaves the 6th and 27th open. Dropick also said WEC plans on a free card on Versus as well that month. Don't forget UFC 98 is May 23rd and UFC 100 is July 11th. That's four PPVs (likely $170) and at least six cards overall from Zuffa in seven weeks. Can fight fans afford that much action?
- Dana White