Strikeforce gained traction in 2009 amid the the downfall of EliteXC, the collapse of Affliction, and the inability of the WECto be much more than a promotion with great fights that no one sees. Scott Coker carefully manuvered the regional promotion to get into the cage with the 2 ton gorilla also known as the UFC. While the UFC broke PPV records and expanded into new international markets in 2009, Strikeforce did a little expansion of its own. Below is a snapshot of some of the things that Strikeforce was able to accomplish in 2009 after the jump.
-Purchased several assets from EliteXC, including fighters, video library, a deal with Showtime, and a deal with CBS.
-Alliance with DREAM and M-1 Global
-EA Sports Video Game
-Signing Of Fedor Emelianenko And Dan Henderson
-Promoted the 1st women's MMA championship fight between Gina Carano and Cyborg Santos
-Held multiple shows outside of California
That's a quite a bit for a promotion that wasn't doing much outside of San Jose, California prior to 2009. The most impressive thing to me was the ability for Strikeforce to put on 10 MMA events in roughly 9 months. Now half of these shows were "ShoMMA" events, which are smaller scaled and feature prospects that Strikeforce are trying to groom. However, to put it in perspective, the Zuffa owned WEC only hosted 8 events in 2009.
Strikeforce isn't wasting any time in 2010. Their first scheduled event will take place on January 30th with what looks to be promising card on paper. The event will air on Showtime, and it'll be the promotions first venture into Florida. If the January event does well, then that would be another market that Strikeforce can count on. Then Strikeforce will be heavily relying on the rumored CBS event in April to get the ball rolling again. However, right around that time the stars will begin to re-align for the UFC with a lot of their top fighters finally getting healthy and scheduled to fight. So that coupled with how Strikeforce wants to tip toe through that mind field will shape much of 2010 for Strikeforce. However, if they really want to make some strides here are three things that Strikeforce needs to concentrate on improving upon in 2010:
-Building their brand
They will never be able to compete with the UFC with the way they fail to promote their brand. Brand recognition is one of the biggest advantages that the UFC has, and they never fail to use it. Also, better matchmaking is a must in 2010. Of course this comes with signing better free agents, and building prospects from within which it appears that Strikeforce is trying to do. Of course they can't build their brand overnight, but if you put on good fights that have meaning and tie it to a brand, then it makes it that much easier for consumers to identify the product. Because if we polled the 5 million and some change that watched the Fedor/Rogers event on CBS, I bet 50% of the viewers couldn't tell you what promotion put that show on.