This past January, UFC offered two exclusive mixed-martial arts fights on their Facebook page and watched as 130,000 new people clicked the “like” button. After that, they were sold on the concept and began making plans to do it again and again. Says UFC president Dana White:
“What I like about the Facebook part of it is the social media portion of it. It’s people connecting with other people. My thing is, and this is my philosophy about fights, everybody wants to see a fight. The problem is letting everybody know that it’s on.”
But the UFC isn’t putting all of their eggs into one social media basket. What Facebook has done for them is given them an additional outlet for lesser fights that they couldn’t sell on cable TV or through Pay-Per-View. By sectioning the content and putting each piece exclusively in one area and not another, they’ve created that circular connectivity that is so important. The Facebook fans watch a free fight then get sent to the TV to watch the main bout. Once the fight is over, the TV sends the folks back to the website for more details and the website sends them to Facebook to catch the next exclusive fight. And all of that is being done with content they already had available.
Facebook got an even bigger vote of confidence when Fox’s American Idol decided to make it the home base for their new online voting. Prior to this season, all Idol votes had to be done by phone or text and that led to some cries of foul when last year’s expected winner came in second.
American Idol’s creator, Simon Fuller, issued the following statement:
“We have been wanting to do online voting for several years, and now Facebook has offered us a secure solution and we are ready to go. The show has always involved a high level of engagement with its viewers through texting and phone voting, and it’s great to expand on this tradition.”
An online voting system that is secure and hacker-proof is vital for a show like Idol, so it’s interesting that they’ve deemed Facebook connect secure enough to handle the votes. But can it handle the traffic? The first few rounds of votes shouldn’t be a problem, but when it gets to those high-rated final episodes? That will be the real test.
Now all they need to do is have American Idol’s Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox fight it out one more time but inside the UFC’s famed Octagon.
Thanks to ClickZ for the UFC tip.