Photo courtesy of FedorMMA.com.
Last week Affliction Clothing made their unofficial entrance into the world of promoting mixed martial arts events by revealing details concerning it’s upcoming planned “Banned” show on July 19th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Tom Atencio, vice president of the company, confirmed some bouts that we already knew were going to take place (Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo) and announced some others that are pretty intriguing to say the least. (Mike Whitehead vs. Renato Sobral and Aleksander Emelianenko vs. Paul Buentello if the two heavyweights return signed contracts to the promotion)
The card itself is enough to make hardcore fans of the sport want to watch. After all, Emelianenko, the perennial top heavyweight in the world, is going to take on his first ranked opponent since fighting Mirko Cro Cop in PRIDE almost three years ago. (or against Mark Hunt if you had him ranked high enough)
Throw in a slew of notable names that casual fans will even know and Affliction automatically has a chance of making some noise with their debut show, right?
Not so fast…
If you live on Earth, the only way you even know about this show is if you visit MMA-related websites on a regular basis or watched Atencio’s announcement on HDNet. Problem is that many casual fans have never even heard of Sherdog.com. At the moment, HDNet only reaches approximately six million homes.
It’s a little more than two months until the event. Not only have I not heard or seen of a commercial involving the event but there isn’t even a website associated with the event up as of yet, nor nothing on Affliction’s online home. Then again, the company basically only officially announced the event was taking place two days ago. In this day and age, it’s a little difficult to get the attention of millions when you’re not the UFC.
So what does Affliction need to do to succeed? In my opinion, heavy heavy marketing. How? Commercials, street teams, radio spots, billboards. You name it and it’s gotta happen.
The company already has a niche with those that enjoy the clothing line they put out. MMA fighters aren’t the only celebrities wearing Affliction gear. Go visit Affliction’s website and let Ozzy Osborne, Jerry Rice, The Undertaker, and Shawn Marion I said hi. Many have speculated that the line has become a bit of a cult favorite to some because of the amount of celebrities seen wearing their clothes. Posers wear Affliction. For the most part, it’s true.
Any promotion trying to put on a show has a huge advantage in the form of anyone on their roster that fought in the UFC recently and had their fights televised. Sylvia and Sobral will come in handy. The hardcores will watch one way or another, but it’s the casual fans that need to be enticed. MMA is hot right now. It’s possible.
While a falling out with HDNet concerning a television deal might seem like bad news at first glance, it’s really not that big of a deal. After all, at most the channel would have been used to air the preliminary fights and a tape-delayed replay of the event, right? With aggressive marketing, the prelims can be streamed online. A replay of the event isn’t of that much importance, especially when it’s going to be on pay-per-view anyway.
So how about that PPV? People have been ragging on Affliction for deciding to make people buy their first show. It’s already known that they’re going to lose money in pulling this off. It happens with any kind of new business venture. However putting it on PPV, with the right marketing and the right names, could result in a lesser loss than expected.
So can Affliction’s newest venture succeed? I don’t think anyone knows at this point. However with the right marketing, they can give themselves a pretty good shot. Two months left. It’s about the same period of time in which movie trailers come out. Want to become a player in MMA? Time to get to work.