(Where do you even begin trying to explain this to him? Photo courtesy of M-1Global.com)
It’s one thing for a network executive to sit down with a reporter from an MMA media outlet and say the right things. We’re not that hard to please, after all, and our expectations are sufficiently low. Just don’t call it Ultimate Fighting or human cockfighting and we’re generally satisfied. But what about when they talk to other media outlets, the ones who might be asking them, ‘Seriously, what’s with this Ultimate Fighting stuff you guys are running?’
Kelly Kahl of CBS spoke with MarketWatch – the kind of website that follows up mention of any public company with that company’s current stock quote – about the network’s decision to try another go-round with MMA, and Kahl offered an interesting perspective we might not have previously considered. To hear him tell it, they might as well give it a shot, because young men aren’t watching a lot of CBS on their Saturday nights as it is:
“The young male audience is not something we typically get on a Saturday night,” said Kelly Kahl, senior executive vice president for CBS Primetime. “But these are the best fighters in the world and you get to see them for free…It required some explanation and education [to convince advertisers]. But when you show the ratings numbers this has achieved on other platforms, there is no question that this has become a mainstream, legitimate sport. And our sales guys are really happy with the pricing and sellout level.”
In other words, no matter what you think of this stuff, it sells. Either get out of the way or get on board, because the money train is coming through and it isn’t stopping until everyone has a summer home and a mistress in grad school. Choo-choo, suckers.
Kahl also insists that they are “leaving no stone unturned” when it comes to promoting their broadcast of this fight, though that assertion seems questionable at best. One person who claims to be completely satisfied with CBS’ efforts is professional hanger-on/soulless façade Jerry Millen, who also allegedly performs some vague service for M-1 Global, Strikeforce’s co-promotional partner for this event. There’s something to be learned by the interesting way he words his praise for CBS here:
“They are doing a great job. Ken Hershman over at Showtime is really behind Fedor and M-1 and Strikeforce. Kelly Kahl at CBS is a huge Fedor fan and he loves the sport. I think he’s done a great job.”
Yep, sounds like Millen has his priorities straight. To score points in his book, you gotta be a Fedor fan first. Being a fan of the sport in general is cool too. Oh, and when asked what would happen if Brett Rogers scores an upset on Saturday night? The vice president of the company that is co-promoting this athletic event responded by – get this – laughing, before saying several times that it’s "not going to happen." Well, at least all the people involved in promoting this fight are just hoping for a good and fair contest.