B/R's ever awesome Damon Martin did an extensive piece on the lack of support by broadcaster NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) for the World Series of Fighting. While FOX is pushing the UFC heavily, and the Viacom owned Spike is doing the same for Bellator, WSoF is very nearly invisible on any NBC owned entity, including even Twitter.
World Series of Fighting debuted on the NBC Sports Network in November of 2012 and pulled in a respectable 198,000 viewers, but this was before their multi-fight deal was signed. Since that time, World Series of Fighting has increased viewership, pulling in 210,000 viewers for their second show, 201,000 viewers for the third show and most recently 264,000 viewers for their fourth show in August.
This is without virtually any notable support from the network itself, at least visibly on their website or through social media.
With a fight card less than a week away, the NBC Sports Network page currently set up for World Series of Fighting currently reflects the World Series of Fighting 4 card from August and videos from that night of fights.
Having a television partner in MMA has been crucial to the sport's overall success in the last eight years. The UFC signing a multi-million dollar deal with Fox Sports was considered a game changer in the industry, and since signing that deal the network has placed the sport prominently on all of their stations in terms of advertising as well as appearances during key NFL games and other sporting events.
Bellator was recently purchased by Viacom—the broadcast company that owns several major television networks including Spike TV, where the promotion is currently shown. It's hard to find a day or time where Spike TV isn't promoting Bellator or doing a cross-promotion advertisement with the company or its athletes.
Meanwhile, the NBC Sports Network can't seem to be bothered to even note that there is a fight card taking place on Saturday night.
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World Series Of Fighting 5
Revel Ovation Hall
Revel Beach, NJ
Sat, Sep 14, 2013 6:30 PM
Main Card (NBC Sports Network, 9 p.m. ET)
Andrei Arlovski vs. Mike Kyle
Dave Branch vs. Danillo Villefort - middleweight tournament semifinal
Elvis Mutapcic vs. Jesse Taylor - middleweight tournament semifinal
Rolles Gracie vs. Derrick Mehmen
Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Waylon Lowe
Prelim Card (MMAjunkie.com, 6 p.m. ET)
Rick Glenn vs. Artur Rofi
Ozzy Dugulubgov vs. Andrew Osbourne
Gregor Gracie vs. Richard Patishnock
Sidemar Honorio vs. Jimmie Rivera
Darren Costa vs. Neiman Gracie