(What, people weren’t lined up around the block to witness Keith Jardine’s striking finesse?)
Here’s a shocker: Strikeforce’s recent Rockhold vs Jardine offering didn’t exactly set the box office on fire.
If you tuned in earlier this month to watch Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine and wondered why the crowd appeared to be underwhelming at best it turns out you had a good reason to feel that way.
According to official numbers released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the promotion only sold 927 tickets for the event while giving away 1,065 and having another 727 left collecting dust. Also concerning, the total gate for the show was $68,805 while more than $400,000 was paid out to main card winners at the event (not to mention the money earned by preliminary competitors and losing fighters).
Interestingly enough, I have discovered a trend – and no, it is not “Strikeforce events suck and will never make money.” It’s that Vegas is a cold fish for smaller events like this and it’s been this way since the economy tanked. Even TUF finales held there fared poorly at the ticket booth – 1100 paid for TUF 14, 1500 for TUF 13, 1200 for TUF 12, and 1300 for TUF 10 (which featured Kimbo). When you compare Strikeforce to these, the 927 number doesn’t seem so terrible. It’s sucky, but it’s sucky like you’d expect from these Vegas shows.
That doesn’t mean Zuffa shouldn’t worry about their Showtime placeholder promotion becoming a money pit. The Barnett vs Kharitonov event at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati bombed … fans at the event estimated less than 1500 people were in attendance. Who knows how many actually paid for that one. Strikeforce certainly paid – fighter salaries were $942,000. You don’t have to be an autistic Rainman type person to figure out those numbers don’t add up well.
Keep your eyes on how the Rousey v Tate fight in March does. Yeah, the one that’s no longer headlined by the finals of the heavyweight grand prix. That should tell us more about whether this is a Vegas problem or a Strikeforce problem.