Powell's Blog: UFC 143 in 3D at the movie theater, why WWE may do better business in 3D, a strange call by Ring of Honor

Posted in: Powell's Blog, MUST-READ LISTING
Feb 6, 2012 - 12:30 PM

By Jason Powell

Monday, February 6, 2012 – 12:30 P.M. (CT)

-I attended the UFC 143 pay-per-view on Saturday night at a movie theater that was showing the event in 3D. For starters, the event felt ridiculously overpriced at $28.50 per ticket. Granted, it's cheaper than ordering the pay-per-view at home, but only if you're flying solo. Bring a date and add some refreshments and you're in for a nearly three digit date night. Plus, it's hard to justify spending that type of money when there are always several bars in the area showing the event in HD for free.

The 3D aspect was interesting. The time clock popped off the screen and there were some cool shots throughout the night that were also designed to jump off the screen. The fights themselves were not especially enhanced. Oddly enough, the 3D effect made the fighters look slightly further away, though it was still a cool view of the fights.

UFC used the broadcast team of Jon Anik and Kenny Florian. They did a nice job of calling the show and had good chemistry together. I didn't miss Mike Goldberg yelling "It's all over" after every fight, and Anik was a nice change of pace. Florian had the line of the night when he said Roy Nelson was like Kung Fu Panda, but I really missed the passion and enthusiasm that Joe Rogan brings to color commentary.

This was the first 3D theater broadcast and there were some hiccups along the way. There were some annoying short glitches that occurred every 15-20 minutes. It was more of a nuisance than a major distraction, though, and only one was lengthy enough to get a loud "Oh, come on," from one of the patrons.

The biggest downer of the experience was the flat atmosphere in the theater. There was some soft clapping during the last two fights, but it seemed like people didn't know whether to cheer out loud or sit quietly as if it was a movie. It was a far cry from watching a show at the bar or even in a home party atmosphere.

The overall attendance was below 50. We showed up just before start time and were worried that we'd be stuck in the front row on the floor, so I asked the person at the ticket booth, who said they had sold just over 40 tickets for a theater that seated over 200 people. Ouch.

WWE is said to be discussing the idea of doing their own 3D broadcast. I could see them having more success than UFC did (if my market is any indication). After all, I can think of nearly ten bars within 20 minutes of my house that show UFC events, whereas WWE events are not shown at any of those venues. In other words, WWE won't have to worry about free bar viewings competing with the movie theater experience nearly as much as UFC does.

Overall, it was a unique experience that I don't regret. I recommend giving it a shot for the novelty aspect once, though I couldn't see myself doing this on a regular basis. The 3D novelty was cool once, but it wasn't cool enough to justify the expense given that a person can save money by watching the show at a bar for free or at home in HD for a similar price.

-Can someone from Sinclair Broadcast Group explain the logic behind making potential viewers jump through hoops in order to view the weekly Ring of Honor television show online? You have to go through a signup process just to view the show for free five days after it airs and you can only see it on the ROH website.

I don't have a problem with UFC offering members of its website the chance to see the show before its available for free users. Granted, I would make it a real perk by giving them a chance to view it even before it airs on SBG affiliates, but that's just me.

The decision I question is not releasing the television show on Youtube and other online outlets every week. Ring of Honor should want as many eyeballs on their product as possible. They have a core group of fans who have surely signed up for either the membership service or the free service, but this company must find ways to reach casual fans, and putting the weekly television show online is a logical step in the right direction.

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