Just how much would you pay to watch Anderson Silva? Jon Jones? GSP?

UFC.tv instituded a price bump from $44.99 to $54.99 starting with UFC 162, which featured Silva’s title loss to Chris Weidman. Although the UFC may have made a few extra dollars with the initial price raise, don’t expect the fan support to continue for buying events on UFC.tv.

Fight fans likely had no issues with paying to watch Silva. He was the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and could always be counted on to provide some sort of memorable moment. Unfortunately for “The Spider,” the moment came at his expense at UFC 162. However, he wasn’t the only one suffering at their own expense on Saturday night, as fans had to pony up some extra dough to watch UFC 162 through UFC.tv.

Although a $10 price bump may not seem like a lot to begin with, just consider the amount of shows the UFC puts on now. With the promotion looking to add more shows into a jam-packed yearly schedule, that $10 in July suddenly turns into a considerable amount by year’s end. Can the UFC truly expect fans to dish out over $50 each month for pay-per-views? Or what about less than stellar cards like UFC 163? Does anyone really believe it’s worth $54.99?

The UFC need only look towards Netflix to see the disasters of raising prices without reason. Granted, the streaming service for the UFC doesn’t provide nearly as much revenue for the company as Netflix’s does for the video rental service, but it’s clear that consumers don’t like price increases without some kind of justification or added perks in return. When Netflix ended its longtime $9.99 DVD-plus-streaming service in favor of two separate plans with a price of $7.99 each, the streaming service saw droves of customers cancel their memberships. Netflix didn’t need to make such a drastic move and neither does the UFC.

It’s not as if the company has hit a plateau and is fading back to irrelevancy. The UFC has a major network deal with Fox. It also has other, more popular avenues through which it delivers pay-per-view events to its fan base. Although MMA fans are some of the most Internet-savvy fans in all of sports after depending on the worldwide web for their MMA fix in the 1990s, watching events online is no longer a necessity. Many fans flock to local sports bars or head over to a friend’s house to split the bill. Even if they stay at home, the option of a big screen television and a more reliable broadcast feed via their cable provider is much more appealing than an internet stream. Why raise the price on a service that’s already an afterthought with fans?

Many fans are already facing hardships in enduring the economic troubles of our times. Although the report is a little old, Pro Football Talk shows that even NFL fans aren’t willing to pay top dollar for tickets:

Despite unprecedented growth of TV audiences, attendance at NFL games reached an all-time high in 2007. It has consistently dropped ever since. In 2011, the NFL posted the lowest total attendance since the league expanded to 32 teams in 2002 with the addition of the Houston Texans.

Everyone knows how crazy people are about football. If fans aren’t willing to pay money to see their teams compete live, then how does the UFC figure its fans will be willing to pay more to watch from a computer screen? The comparison isn’t exact, but it does show that fans (even the most loyal) have a breaking point when it comes to raising costs. For the UFC, a price hike on this service could push some to that breaking point.

Photo: UFC.TV Logo (Zuffa, LLC)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.