BKFC President David Feldman admits that BKFC 41 fell short of expectations financially, but believes he now knows why.
In April, Feldman took a big risk in putting together BKFC 41, even refinancing his own home to help fund the event and draw in the big names at the top of the card: Mike Perry, Luke Rockhold, Eddie Alvarez, and Chad Mendes. For Feldman, the hope was that he could create the biggest fight card in promotional history and use that as a launching pad for further growth for his company. By most accounts, he succeeded; however, now that all the numbers are in, Feldman admits that it wasn’t all perfect.
“We anticipated to do more pay-per-views than we did,” Feldman told Unlocking the Cage. “We still did good. We did six-figures in pay-per-views, a little north of six figures, which was very, very good for us. We projected to do almost double that though, and actually I just got a report in today that says they found 734,000 illegal streams from that event.
“So I’m not even pissed off. That’s 734,000 people that watched this event, on top of the people that bought it. We had north of 1 million people in the United States watch this event live. Unbelievable for us.”
Feldman is not the only fight promoter to struggle with internet piracy. A couple of years ago, piracy was one of UFC President Dana White’s biggest concerns, with the UFC estimating it results in roughly $30 million lost per year. Like White, Feldman has some concerns about how piracy could affect the promotion moving forward, but for the time being, he’s more willing to celebrate the positives, like the fact that so many people tuned in at all.
“Now we just have to worry about how we’re going to combat that going forward when we need to monetize it more,” Feldman said. “We didn’t have to monetize it for that event, we just had to get it out there. We had to have people watching it, we had to have people talking about it. Perception was everything for that event and we blew the doors off everything. So to get that report today actually made me feel really good, because I was wondering why we didn’t do as many buys as we projected, but now I know why.”
In the meantime, it’s full steam ahead for Feldman and BKFC. Speaking with MMA Fighting in May, Feldman revealed that he is already working on putting together another major event for September.
“We’re putting together a superfight here in September, hopefully that’s going to be even bigger than the one we just did in Denver,” Feldman said. “We want to keep up the momentum. I don’t want to be the promotion where it’s like, ‘There’s only been one promotion and I think it’s BKFC that ever did anything like this before, but are they going to continue or are they going to be that one-hit wonder?’ We won’t be that one-hit wonder.
“We’re throwing everything we have at this thing and we think we can have a hell of a run for BKFC in the next three to five years.”
Hopefully, that run will involve a few more people paying for events.