The popularity of MMA in Japan continues to decline. The sport seemed on top of the world in Japan during the days of PRIDE. Even though there are many similarities between today’s top Japanese MMA organizations and PRIDE, there is something amiss.

This fact was shown no more clearly than it was on what should have been MMA’s biggest night of the year in Japan, the New Year’s Eve Dynamite!! event.

Here is a report on the television ratings for this year’s Dynamite!! card.  Here are the numbers broken down into three parts:

1. Time:  7:00 – 9:00 Rating 11.8%
2. Time:  9:00 – 11:00 Rating 12.9%
3. Time:  11:00 – 11:24 Rating  8.4%

Before the event, FEG president Sadaharu Tanikawa said that they wished to earn a 15% or better rating.  Clearly they did not meet their goal.  Perhaps the most disturbing news is the extremely low rating for the final half hour of the card.  During this portion of the card most of the big name fighters took to the ring, including the main event between Kazushi Sakuraba and Kiyoshi Tamura.

The timeslot that received the highest rating contained the “freakshow” fight between Bob Sapp and Anime character, Kinniku Mantaro, who was actually Akihito Tanaka in disguise.  The numbers have to be a headache for FEG considering that a fight of such low caliber garnered more viewers than their star attractions.

To make matters worse, these ratings are lower than last year’s Dynamite!! Show.  The first and third portions of the 2007 show earned 11.1% while the second part earned a 14.7%.  Those ratings themselves were a significant drop from the previous year’s ratings.  Could this be a sign of the decline in popularity of the sport in Japan?

On the brighter side for FEG, the show did best two other sports entertainment events on New Year’s Eve.  A boxing match featuring Japanese star Takefumi Sakata drew only a 9.0% rating, while Hustle Mania, a pro wrestling show, pulled only a 3.4% rating.

Despite the small victory, surely FEG will have to figure out a way to draw more viewers for their future MMA and K-1 cards.

Props: Nightmare of Battle

-Richard Mann

One thought on “Despite FEG’s push, still low ratings for Dynamite!!”
  1. Keep in mind that FEG lost 2 huge superstar bouts from the card when Jerome Le Banner got the flu and when the Eddie Alverez vs Joachim Hansen fight was called off due to Joachims medical clearance failure.

    That was coupled with seriously botched broadcast arrangements:

    HDnet was too late to secure their simulcast rights for the broadcast to US audiences. didn’t air the event over streaming internet PPV as they were supposed to.

    The live card was incomplete and the complete airing wasn’t available for some time.

    All in all it was still a good show that didn’t disappoint (if you could figure out some way to watch it). Even if the MMA media delivery system is failing in Japan there is lots of money to be had from US PPV audiences if they can partner with the right promotions for a big show. Part of the problem also stems from lots of Japanese MMA stars fading at a time when the new ones aren’t quite built up yet. Satoshi Ishii’s decision to attempt fighting in the UFC for the beginning of his career won’t help this either.

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