Some of the bazillion MMA commentators in cyber space bellyached a bit when Invicta announced that last night’s event would be put on internet pay per view, after the previous events had been offered for free. As with most other things MMA-related, most of these commentators touted their invisible MBA degrees and claimed that the decision was a horrible business decision that would lead to lost fans, no one watching the event, and the city of Kansas City burning down.
It looked for a while on Saturday night that these naysayers would come out in the right, as the Ustream pay per view technology had more problems than me trying to get a date with Invicta commentator Julie Kedzie. Throughout the early goings of the show, Twitter was a’Tweeting with all sorts of stories of people not being able to pay for the event, or being able to pay for the event and not getting anything on the stream. I was in the former category. I attempted to purchase the pay per view, but the stream was not willing to accept my money. If only the women in my life would be so kind.
And, honestly? With playoff football on television, I wasn’t in the mood to sit around the computer all night hoping for a resolution, so I moved on. Quite frankly, I was all ready to wake up this morning and write a blog about how disastrous the decision to go to pay per view with an unreliable distributor, and how it may have cemented Invicta’s place in the MMA hierarchy as a second-rate company.
That blog is not to be however, as Invicta made the best of the otherwise terrible situation. When the company found out about the issues with the stream and could not get into contact with anyone that could provide a proper resolution, president Shannon Knapp made a tough call. She brought down the pay wall, made the event free, and instructed that Ustream provide a refund to anyone that purchased the event.
From a dollars and cents position, the decision had to be tough, as not coming up with a resolution obviously caused the promotion to lose out on many eight dollar payments (including my own). In addition, it has to be a shot to Invicta’s pride, as the people who said they shouldn’t have charged for the event were proved somewhat right, even if for different reasons. Finally, as Ben Fowlkes explained, the company was planning on using the pay per view data to assess its core audience for purposes of a TV deal. No way that’s going to happen now.
But that’s not the takeaway here. I think the focus has to be on the fact that Invicta made the best decision for its fans, and made the event free. The company could very well have went on, pointed the finger at its internet stream provider, and looked to deflect any complaints. Instead, Invicta owned the issues, tried its best to resolve them and, when it couldn’t, bit the bullet and did what it had to in order to prevent its fans from shelling out $8 for an inferior technological product.
I think undoubtedly the night proved that Invicta cares more about its fans being delivered a good product than it does taking those fans’ money. And that is more than can be said for a lot of the big dogs out there at times. Plus, after seeing a replay of the event, I can confirm that it was a pretty awesome show. I just hope that other fans had more patience than I did and stuck with things until the show was made free.
And the city of Kansas City is still standing!