Bellator MMA recently announced its plans to enter the pay-per-view market on Nov. 2. The event will be headlined by a match-up between former UFC light heavyweight champions Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but how much are people willing to pay for the organization’s first pay-per-view event?
“Price point will vary depending on the distributor. We'll have $35 price point, there'll be some $40, some of the distributors may push it up to $45. It'll be distributor specific depending on where they're located around the country,” said Bellator MMA president Bjorn Rebney during a recent media conference call.
“There is a very high likelihood that we will not exceed the $50 price point,” he added.
The fight card is expected to feature several title bouts.
“We're going to have a lot of title fights on this show. It will be a long pay-per-view. There's a lot of meat on the bone for us in terms of title fights right now. There will be a lot of world title fights on that show,” said Rebney.
“Because of the Spike partnership, now we've got what I always dreamed of having, which is a backlog for our champions across multiple weight divisions. So we can pick and choose what world title fights to put on that show,” he added. “So you will see a collection of world title fights underneath Tito vs. Rampage. You may see another special fight to kick it off; probably looking at five fights on the pay-per-view.”
Rebney promises the pay-per-view will feature the biggest names on the Bellator roster, but pay-per-view events will not be a regular occurrence for the fight promotion.
“There will be our best names, our best fighters, and like I said, a lot of world title fights on the show, which is great,” he said.
“The one thing that I've always said about pay-per-view is that you can't force feed pay-per-views down people's throats month in and month out. You can't do it as a repetitive vehicle. We're a free TV mechanism and a free TV business,” said the Bellator president.
“Our partnership and our alliance is with Spike and when incredible opportunities come up for us and I sit down with our partners and we have the opportunity to do Tito vs. Rampage or we have the opportunity to do another huge fight, we will probably jump back into the pay-per-view arena. But it's not going to be one of those things where every single month, do or die, we keep putting it out same time, same place, same channel, where we don't necessarily have — or someone else doesn't necessarily have — the fighters to fuel it the way that a premium purchase should be fueled. We'll get back into it when the timing is right and we have the right fighters,” he continued.
“Pay-per-views are about great fights between great fighters. Pay-per-view is not about just sending it out there into space and saying hey, give me 45 dollars or 50 dollars of your hard-earned money,” added Rebney. “We'll be back in it, but we'll be back in it when the time is right to be back in it.”
As Bellator grows in the market space, you can expect to see more pay-per-view events.
“You're going to see more of this. You won't see it every day. We're not going to crown the champion this way. But you'll see more of this as we grow and continue to evolve,” said Rebney.
The UFC typically charges $54.95 for high definition pay-per-views. Invicta FC charged $14.95 for their most recent fight card. Nick Diaz’s WAR MMA let the consumer decide what the event was worth.
Bellator’s first pay-per-view is expected to feature the biggest names on their roster, several title fights capped off with a bout between MMA icons, but is a low-end consumer cost of $35 too much, or right on target?