Tuesday, August 7, 2007
A fellow journalist asked me this as we sat watching the IFL's semi-finals at the Continental Airlines Arena last week, and I'm not sure if he heard my answer over the din of the 7,077 people in attendance. Amidst a sea of fans wearing a variety of IFL team jerseys, I told my cohort that it's a race against time. Can the relatively new promotion reshape the MMA market with its team concept before it runs out of capital? Or, as the published quarterly statements might imply, has it been hemorrhaging money? As men, women and children alike clamored by to ask for Deividas Taurosevicius' autograph or shake Chris Horodecki's hand, I pointed out that the IFL business model seemed somewhat sound - more so than that of the failed WFA or Ultimate Athlete. Obviously, the IFL would like the teams to matter more than the individual fighters to consumers. But, I said, as the ring announcer hyped the weekly TV show and the crowd cheered the unusually large number of local competitors populating the card, it really boils down to whether the general public accepts - or rejects - the IFL brand. Again, I'm not sure if my colleague heard me, as just then a team mascot in a furry pitbull suit blew a trumpet in our faces and we were showered with confetti.