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ESPN testing out the interest of MMA on its readers/listeners?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Alma, May 24, 2007.

  1. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Anybody else noticing the sudden uptick in MMA coverage by ESPN? Chuck Liddell shows up on a magazine. Shows up on Rome. Rome and Cowherd talk about it all the time. And somehow, the sport got juxtaposed with the Mayweather/De La Hoya.

    Two words: Trial balloon. ESPN is trying to gauge interest. I think they're on the verge of some kind of deal with the sport.

    My own thoughts: UFC is a He-Man league. Owned and controlled by one guy…eh, no thanks. The fights aren't staged, but fighters certainly pay their dues WWF-style. Some fights are title bouts, some aren't, results seem to wildly vary and against conventional thinking. Not that boxing isn't corrupt…it is. But it's not at the whim of one person.
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Check the cover of this week's SI.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Alma, god help me, but I have to disagree.

    We've racheted up MMA coverage considerably on the website. It's way beyond UFC; there are other promoters and even team leagues (IFL) as well.

    One of our guys ripped MMA in a column, and it generated -- by a long way -- the most feedback e-mail we've ever gotten.

    Beyond that, in my personal life experience, MMA cards are on the TVs more and more in bars I frequent, and people are interested.

    If it's a niche, it's a growing one. And I have absolutely zero to do with the hated competitor, ESPN.
  4. Willie-Butch

    Willie-Butch Member

    No chance I'm paying $50 (or more) for a boxing match, but I'll slap down the same amount for the right UFC PPV. Particularly if Liddell or Arlovsky are fighting.

    The average sports fan, in my opinion, can relate to UFC fighters a little better.
  5. Willie-Butch

    Willie-Butch Member

    Also, it looks like ESPNews is airing the Liddell-Jackson weigh-in Friday afternoon.
  6. The usual MMA mockers will show up in 5, 4, 3, ...
  7. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    I have a good friend (he's also a poster on SportsJournalists.com) who covers all the UFC stuff in Vegas. The sport's growing by leaps and bounds. I see that UFC folks will be sponsoring a breakfast one of the mornings of the APSE convention.
  8. sportsed

    sportsed Member

    Just saying, but shortly after Chuck Liddell appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com announced a cross-promotional and content integration agreement with Sherdog.com, a popular mixed martial arts website.
  9. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Note: I am not saying MMA isn't popular. It's not for me, but it's popular. NASCAR is popular, and I view it as a one-owner He-Man league, too. When everybody serves at the pleasure of one family....Alma don't likey.

    I'm saying I've seen ESPN do this before. It's gearing up for something. I don't think UFC buys the Japanese league if a big TV deal wasn't nearly in place.

    No question UFC and MMA is making its big move. I think they're making it because ESPN has found its new poker.
  10. StaggerLee

    StaggerLee Well-Known Member

    That right there sums it all up. Poker is starting to get stale now that they're five years into the WSOP run. MMA is hot right now and it definitely appeals to that key demo of 18-34 males.

    But to answer your original question, ESPN is definitely trying to gauge interest. It's basically a viewer/reader survey without having to pay for people to call viewers/readers. When the subject of MMA shows up on Around the Horn and PTI and the question is "Is MMA ready for mainstream America?" then it's definitely a trial balloon.

    ESPN has always televised K-1 events and MMA is just the next level of progression.
  11. The only nit I'd pick with these posts is that ESPN is actually pretty much the last man in on covering UFC. It isn't as if they're trying to create something out of cloth, the fans have made UFC popular without any help from ESPN.
  12. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I wasn't aware that MMA was showing up on the networks...
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