(“Move it, asshole, you’re blocking the box!”)
By Matt Saccaro
The ticket sales for Bellator’s November 2nd pay-per-view debut are bad — basically as bad as they could possibly be less than a month out from the card.
On Friday, MMAJunkie’s John Morgan tweeted that the PPV had sold only approximately 1,700 tickets, with another 2,000 on consignment. Matt Roth of MMAMania noted just how dire the situation really is. He pointed out that the venue can hold over 13,000 people, meaning that Bellator would have to sell in the neighborhood of 10,000 tickets in less than 20 days to secure a sellout. That probably isn’t going to happen — not even if Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson became giants like in the awful trailer for the PPV.
Bjorn Rebney better be prepared to get a job at his dad’s Winnebago dealership; winter is coming for Bellator. Nobody is going to attend their PPV, and it’s probable that, at an expected price between $35-45, nobody is going to purchase their PPV either. Nobody gives a fuck about their product and their titles are considered worthless. If the UFC stacked three title fights on a card, you’d expect success, even if it were the titles for the three lightest weight classes. But with Bellator, which is offering three title fights on its PPV (although one is a dubious interim title), nobody knows or cares. Hell, we’re a site whose fanbase is comprised pretty much of entirely hardcore fans, and judging by the front page poll, a third of you never even watch Bellator. If they can’t get the hardcores, what fucking chance do they have at getting the casual fans to drop money on this PPV?
Even more concerning is a recent report from MMAPayout about Bellator 102, which UFC “star” Cheick Kongo headlined. The show’s gate was only $73,410.43. A paltry 1,482 people attended the show but nearly half of those tickets (604 of them to be precise) were comped. Now, are you ready to be really amazed? Let’s look at the salaries.
Kongo made $60,000 for his fight against Mark Godbeer, who made $15,000. So the main event alone accounted for more money than the entire show made in ticket sales. The total salary payout for the entire card, including Kongo and Godbeer, was $308,000.
Subtract the gate from the salaries and you get $234,589.57 — that’s what Bellator lost on the show, or at least that’s the amount of money that Bellator needs to make up through sponsorships and other deals. “Well Viacom is rich and can take a loss on Bellator,” you say? True enough, it seems at first that Viacom could pull off the whole Ted Turner-WCW thing, but Viacom already paid $50 million for an inferior product and a Dana White lookalike. And that product is proving that it’s not financially sustainable. How much longer will Viacom decide to keep the sick man of MMA on life support?
It’s rare, but we’re going to have to agree with Dana White here: There’s no value to Bellator. The promotion still features some insanely talented fighters, but financially, they’re worse in the shit than Enron or WaMu. Get ready for Dana to add another name to the tombstone.