Sports Entertainment Is About To Make A Change
How you get those one off sporting pay per view events is about to take a turn in a very different direction. Currently, if you want to enjoy a big boxing match, a UFC event, or the monthly WWE professional wrestling shows you have to cough up between $50 to $100 to see them through your cable or dish provider in the form of Pay Per View. The bastards even make you kick in an additional fee of usually around ten bucks to see it in HD. This has been the way it was since I was a snot-nosed kid, begging my parents to let me get the latest Mike Tyson pay per view fights in the early 90’s.
Two of those three major players recently both made separate announcements of a new delivery method for their content that will more than likely change the landscape for everyone involved, with the WWE making waves so big the people in Indonesia will have flashbacks. They have both created networks that are available on every device that connects to the Internet to deliver their content, with the WWE even putting on live HD streams of all their big pay per view shows including WrestleMania. The UFC is making all of their past shows available but not the live PPV events. Both companies are charging $9.99 per month. The WWE is requiring a 6 month commitment.
Cutting Out Middle Man = We Win
Currently, when these companies put on these shows, the pay per view distributor takes 50% of that money you are putting down. Add that to that the fact that more and more people are moving away from the use of traditional televisions and onto online devices for entertainment, this makes perfect sense for these content creators. If you are a fan of the WWE, in 6 months you would have spent $360 for the big shows, now you only pay $60. Plus you can access all of the WWE library and original shows. I’m not even a pro wrestling fan, and that makes me want to sign up.
Now if you are the big pay per view distributors like DirecTV, this is not a good thing. These guys are the biggest losers in this whole ordeal, but does anyone really feel sorry for them? I say fuck em. Their greed over the years is more than likely going to bite them in the ass, really hard. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. DirecTV is currently threatening to sever ties with the WWE over this announcement, but I doubt that will happen. Not by their choice anyway. It’s found money for them, and that is exactly what the chairman of WWE Vince McMahon was quoted as saying.
What Are The Differences?
Now the UFC, with the new Fight Pass network isn’t aiming for the PPV jugular just yet, and has not abandoned the pay per view method. To be fair, the WWE will not completely stop the PPV’s either, but lets be honest… Who is going to pay for 1 show when for that same price, they get all the shows for the next 6 months on the network. Fans of the UFC have been heard griping about the UFC’s product because of the fact this $9.99 charge is in addition to the monthly PPV shows. The UFC is even putting on events that will only be available on the streaming network, so UFC fans are going to be spending a lot more for their shows then they have been.
I think the UFC is waiting to see how the WWE does moving all of their PPV shows over to the network. WWE only needs one million subscribes to break even. Their weekly show, Monday Night Raw averages about 4 1/2 million viewers per week… Do the math. If the WWE can pull it off, don’t be too surprised to see the UFC follow suit with a platform already neatly in place. And once that action happens, the floodgates will be open as boxing will follow thus cutting off the head and putting the PPV model down for good. Boxing may be the slowest to adopt this new distribution method and with multiple promotions and the talent pool spread out among them, this industry will be shaken the most. Change is never a bad thing though.
So What Does This All Mean?
As the economy continues to be shitty, and people continue to earn less money then they did 15 years ago, there is a trend that in happening, and that is the trend of cutting out the middle man with a direct to consumer approach to bump the bottom line while cutting expenses. The medium is the Internet, and it has enabled companies to control their own destiny. This is happening in multiple industries as manufacturers of goods, content, music, or whatever cut out the traditional distribution methods while delivering the same high quality stuff at a fraction of the price because quite simply put there isn’t someone in the middle with their fat little pudgy hands taking a cut of the profits.
These new distribution methods are going to open up a wealth of new opportunities all while taking certain individuals out behind the barn. Nothing lasts forever, Rome should have taught us that. You either need to adapt with the rolling tides of change or get swept out to sea. Don’t feel to sorry for them though, they are being swept out to see in really large luxury boats and extra barges to carry all the money they already made. If you are really quite you might even hear them laughing.
What do you think? We’d love to hear you sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!