18 Jun 2008 21:00:43 PM
In case you were wondering how the people at Affliction are feeling about the UFC’s all out counter-programming assault, USA Today’s Sergio Non has an article that looks at where the clothier/MMA organization stands right now. Turns out that with a month still to go, they aren’t in bad shape.
VP Tom Atencio claims they’ve sold between 7,000 and 8,000 tickets so far, which is good news this far from the event if it’s true. Anaheim’s Honda Center holds around 17,000. That’s about on par with the Prudential Center in New Jersey, where Elite XC sold just over 8,000 tickets when all was said and done.
Affliction’s big marketing push is planned for two weeks before the show, and as for the impact of UFC Fight Night 14, Atencio is planning on the miracle of modern technology to protect him:
“As far as I’m concerned, people are going to Tivo (the UFC show) and watch our fight, and then go back to (watch UFC) later,” he said. “Obviously you’re going to get those people who are going to watch something for free (rather) than pay. … But our card is definitely stacked. I don’t know anybody that can say it’s not a great card.”
That’s a valid strategy as it relates to hardcore fans. We’ll see whether it will work on those people we always hear about who only know the UFC.
Atencio is right when he says the card is stacked, though it’s stacked largely with fighters who appeal to that hardcore fan base and much less so to the casual fan, who may or may not have heard the name Fedor at any time in his life. Their success with this show — particularly with the UFC going up against them on Spike TV — could tell us a lot about the actual interest level in MMA as a sport, rather than simply the UFC as a brand.
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