Opinion & Analysis
GOODMAN COLUMN: 9 Ways to Make EliteXC on CBS Successful
Jed I. Goodman, MMATorch Columnist
Mar 10, 2008, 00:25
It was recently announced, CBS will be broadcasting 4 Elite Xtreme Combat events a year, as " two-hour live prime time specials." Zuffa's failure to get a network deal with HBO and CBS, gives ProElite a precious gift. They only get one chance to make a first impression; here are 9 ways for EliteXC to be successful on CBS.
1. Fire Bill Goldberg. Immediately. When EliteXC first started it might have been a good marketing idea to have a recognized name as a color man, but he currently hurts the product. Let's be honest, he is a second-rate, fake wrestler that uses much of his interview time to "get himself over." CBS should either choose from their vast range of broadcast journalists currently in their sports division, or bring in a former MMA athlete that understands the sport, much like UFC did with Randy Couture.
2. Make the first ever EliteXC fight on CBS something special. EliteXC first aired on Showtime in February 2007. In their first broadcast fight ever, Charles Bennett, billed as a "street-fighter", beat KJ Noons. Bennett's "thug-like" post interview was a sad start for a company trying to grow into a mainstream sport. The CBS show will have the largest MMA audience ever; highlight the positives of MMA in 2008. The focus should be on "Clay Guida-type" athletes. A lightweight showcase with well-rounded fighters would be a strong start to the show.
3 Have Gina Carano on the show...naked. Just a joke. But, while the "60 Minutes" crowd may not be ready to see women fighting, at least introduce the "face of women's MMA" to the audience. She is charming, beautiful and great spokeswoman for the sport.
4. Do not have Kimbo Slice in your main event. It's scary to think that a Kimbo Slice fight could very well be the most viewed MMA fight in history. Schedule his fight for the top of the second hour. You can hype his fight throughout the first hour and still still pop a solid rating. Let the main event be a title fight with Robbie Lawler or a fight with Frank Shamrock; a well- rounded fighter with real skills. Do you see a pattern here?
5. Sign UFC fighters that are up for contract negotiations. Dana White said there will be "casualties in war", referring to being unable to re-sign every athlete up for contract renegotiations. I am against using high profile names, like Bill Goldberg or Tank Abbott to make a name for EliteXC, but grabbing a "Josh Koscheck" or an "Andrei Arlovski" is a good thing. UFC did a good job with building hype for Wanderlei Silva and Brock Lesnar recently, ProElite should follow suit. Once they sign a high profile athlete, make it a big deal, show them in the crowd, interview them, let the audience know what to expect in the future.
6. Fedor Emelianenko. If the rumors are true, grab him now.
7. Pack the card. The broadcast show will be two hours long, but the actual card will probably start several hours earlier. Pack the undercard with 6 or 7 fights before the show goes live so that, once they are on the air, they have the ability to pick and choose what fights to show.
8. Do not let history repeat itself. ProElite must make sure they don't become the next XFL on NBC. Vince McMahon's XFL was a critical and economical failure. He focused more on entertainment and less on the sport. He cared more about what name the football players would have on their jerseys and how they would dance after a touchdown, then the importance of their skill level. EliteXC must come across like a legit sport for mainstream audiences to care.
9. Build for the Future. Get us excited about the next show. UFC does a good job of promoting upcoming cards. During the telecast, interview the fighters that will be headlining the next show. If there are plans for a title fight on the CBS premiere, let's see and hear about other possible contenders. Have Kimbo's next opponent lined up so that he can do commentary during Kimbo's fight to set up anticipation for their eventual showdown.
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