Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp is actively looking to land a television deal for her MMA organization. That much is certain following a failed attempt at an online pay-per-view on UStream for Invicta FC 4 this past Saturday.
An overwhelming demand for the event caused a backlog in UStream's credit card processing system, which disabled many fans from watching the first several bouts on the Invicta FC 4 fight card. After unsuccessful attempts to fix the problem, Knapp made the decision to cancel the pay-per-view and allow the event to be aired for free.
Though Knapp didn't have much of a choice in the matter, that call would cost the promotion a large chunk of change.
According to UStream CEO Brad Hunstable, Invicta FC 4 was the most popular pay-per-view event ever held on his company's website (via MMAJunkie.com). More than 70,000 people joined the broadcast after the event was changed from a pay-per-view to free stream, and that was likely after many gave up on being able to watch the fights due to the payment delays.
Since UStream offers broadcasters 50 percent of revenues from pay-per-views streamed on its site, Invicta FC missed out on a quarter of a million dollars at a bare minimum as a result of the pay-per-view cancellation.
Perhaps more importantly, Invicta FC was unable to obtain a completely accurate reading of viewer interest in its product. That, more than pay-per-view revenue, was the goal of this event. It would have given Knapp a bargaining chip to take to television networks to help work out a deal that is becoming more and more important as the organization continues to struggle with reliable Internet streams.
Despite its recent woes, Invicta FC may have luck on its side after all.
Strikeforce, which has long been partnered with premium cable network Showtime, will be closing its doors after one last fight card this weekend. In an ironic bit of timing, Invicta FC finds itself in need of a television partner more than ever, and Showtime finds itself in search of new MMA programming for the first time in a long while.
Showtime's Stephen Espinoza did not admit to speaking with Invicta FC officials about a deal, though he also did not deny his interest in the all-women's MMA organization (via MMAFighting.com).
This company, this network, has been a pioneer in the sport in many ways. It's been a huge supporter of the sport and done some of the most watched events in recent history. Whether there is the right opportunity is still a sort of process of determining that's still going on as we speak. I don't know what the future is going to hold, whether we're going to find the right opportunity, or opportunities, in combat sports. But we definitely would love to continue in MMA.
Considering that the channel played a role in building up female MMA stars such as Gina Carano, Ronda Rousey and many more, it almost appears as though Showtime and Invicta FC are a match made in heaven.
Invicta FC may not ever become the major moneymaker that Strikeforce was, but it has proved it can be an entertaining product when fans are able to view its fights. The organization has had title fights in its past two shows, plans on having two championship bouts at its next event and houses a stable of fighters who seem to bring it every time they step into the cage.
With a reliable partner like Showtime, Invicta FC can receive the exposure it deserves and reach the outstanding potential many believe it has.