Last night, MMA Full Contact attended the first ever live PPV event at the local movie theater. The latest offering from the UFC parent company, Zuffa, LLC, is described in our past article entitled, UFC 111 in a Theatre Near You. It was a great night of fights with plenty of action from undercard events and some real displays of attrition from the multiple headlining bouts; a perfect event to kick off innovative ways of getting the fights viewable by a wider audience.
For the concept itself broadcasting the traditionally PPV only fight was appealing, but the drawback was still a $22 plus cost for each ticket. Having kicked off the evening in an establishment that was also broadcasting the fight, but at a cost of only $5 a head, it was somewhat daunting to walk 100 yards away to pay more than 4 times as much and have no access to beer served by charismatic bartenders. All said and done though, watching such a list of fights larger than life was well worth the experience.
Overall, watching the event this way had its appeal and its drawbacks. The appeal was the atmosphere if you don’t mind 70 people in your "living room", but no access to the fridge. If your theater serves beer you might have been half way there, but if you want 70 drunks in your living room, I would just recommend going back to the bar and paying only $5. The absolute advantage was the large HD screen and a perfect view no matter what seat you chose that only a stadium seating movie theater can offer. Top of the line audio and fighters larger than they would be even if you were at the actual event definitely added some exhilaration when the action picked up.
The theater wasn’t even half full, but I don’t recall the option being advertised that much at all. The evnts that were televised leading up to this still kept to UFC 111 as being "only on PPV" as opposed to "on PPV and possibly at a theater near you". If Zuffa and the UFC feel this might be an option going forward and can stand to drop the price down to $15 I think they might have a real winner. When you consider any group more than 2 costing considerably more than getting the event in house on PPV, it just doesn’t add up.
If you have a theater in walking distance, go take advantage of the big screen and awesome audio, but if you have to drive 45 minutes to find a theater that can present the live event and make the hike back home at 1 in the morning, I’d rather have direct access to the fridge and 20 steps to the comfort of my bed after a pumped up night of fights.