It happens every month in homes all over the nation.
You pick up your remote control, access the channel and program guide, work your way down to the designated channel space for pay-per-view events and press the select button.
In so doing, you’ve placed an order for a pay-per-view event.
A pay-per-view event can be anything from a previously-released motion picture, to a stand-up comedy special, to a live broadcast of a prize fight or a major professional wrestling event.
In terms of mixed martial arts, broadcasting major cards on pay-per-view was formerly commonplace.
Most often, the UFC offered its numbered cards, such as UFC 200, on pay-per-view to participating cable, satellite or telco providers, as well as users of ufc.tv.
UFC’s competitor, Bellator MMA, has only hosted two pay-per-view events in the promotion’s lifetime.
Most recently, Bellator NYC was offered on pay-per-view in June of 2017, an event which took place alongside Bellator 180 on what was then known as Spike TV.
That night, Chael Sonnen defeated Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision in a non-title main event in the Light Heavyweight division.
Up until March’s UFC 235 main card, the promotion offered its pay-per-views to cable and satellite companies. But as Bob Dylan once sang…
…The times, they are a-changin’…
In April, effective with UFC 236, the PPV main cards were offered exclusively through ESPN+, the cable network’s subscription-based streaming platform.
When DAZN, another such platform launched last September in America, Bellator MMA events became available live to all time zones, including some cards exclusive to DAZN.
In addition to Bellator, DAZN also offers MMA fights from Combate Americas, KSW MMA, and ROAD FC.
As far as boxing goes, Golden Boy Promotions streams its fights on DAZN, as does Matchroom Boxing and the World Boxing Super Series—all without a PPV commitment.
This is illustrated in a recent commercial for the platform starring Saturday Night Live alumnus Tracy Morgan.
In the pro wrestling world, World Wrestling Entertainment has long offered its pay-per-view events, such as Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, to subscribers of participating cable and satellite providers.
However, in recent years, the sports entertainment titan has offered the PPVs, as well as programs like NXT and 205 Live, on WWE Network, its own subscription-based streaming platform, which also includes every episode of WCW Monday Nitro and archived broadcasts of Monday Night RAW.
WWE Network offers the WWE catalog, live PPV events included, at $9.99 a month.
Ordering a WWE PPV through cable or satellite providers usually costs $45, with the lone exception being WrestleMania, priced at $60.
Staying in wrestling, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) will hold its first pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, this Saturday night, broadcast on traditional pay-per-view in addition to Turner-owned BR Live, the streaming platform from Bleacher Report.
With all the examples presented in this article, one question still remains:
Could pay-per-view, as we know it, be on its way out?
At this point, a definitive answer to the above question is not known.
However, in my opinion, a world without pay-per-view events being broadcast through cable and satellite is entirely possible, particularly since UFC president Dana White mentioned that the target audience of MMA is a young one that doesn’t necessarily watch TV in a March interview with Megan Olivi.
Within the next several years, I predict that pay-per-views of combat sporting events will be off cable and satellite providers entirely.
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