Dream Ratings Disappoint

By Jordan Breen Sep 25, 2008
The ratings are in, and it's less than dreamy for Dream parent company Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Japan's leading television research firm, Video Research Ltd., reported Wednesday that the tape delayed, primetime broadcast of Dream's middleweight grand prix finale Sept. 23 on the Tokyo Broadcasting System garnered a disappointing rating of 9.0, with a quarterly hour peak of 13.4 for the bout between Yoshihiro Akiyama and Masanori Tonooka.

TBS was fifth out of the six major Japanese networks during the time slot, besting only the perennial sixth-place finisher, TV Tokyo.

The broadcast was the third primetime TBS broadcast for the upstart Dream brand, with their first two ventures garnering mediocre ratings. Their March debut offering notched only an 8.9 percent rating average on TBS in primetime.

Their second primetime telecast, July's lightweight grand prix finale, was only a marginal improvement, with a 10.0 rating. However, the event's quarter hour peak of 13.7 came during the Yoshihiro Akiyama-Katsuyori Shibata bout, meaning that viewers actually tuned out before the lightweight tournament finale and main event between Shinya Aoki and Joachim Hansen.

Following the lukewarm ratings of their first two primetime broadcasts on TBS, heavy emphasis was placed on the Sept. 23 event being successful. Following the lightweight grand prix final telecast on July 21, FEG exec Sadaharu Tanigawa told Japanese combat sports periodical Kami no Puroresu that if ratings didn't increase for the middleweight grand prix finale, Dream may not be sustainable beyond September.

Despite FEG wrangling popular stars Yoshihiro Akiyama and Shinya Aoki to compete on the card at the last minute, the overall rating dropped a full point. Ratings anchor Yoshihiro Akiyama’s bout failed to exceed the quarter-hour rating he drew in July.

With the ratings shortcoming, the promotion has expressed its desire to move on, and has already begun to look at putting together K-1's annual “Premium Dynamite!!” card for New Year's Eve, the biggest night of the year for both television, and MMA, in Japan.

"This is not a number we can be optimistic about," Dream event producer Keiichi Sasahara told the media Wednesday. "But now, I want to brace for New Year's Eve. I want to carry out an event so that we can strike numbers two and three times as high as this."

Sherdog.com's requests for further comment from FEG representatives were not immediately returned.

The reinvention of FEG's MMA product, which replaced the company's Hero's promotion in favor of the Pride-flavored Dream project, was intended as a ratings rehabilitation after Hero’s failed to provide the ratings FEG had hoped for. However, in 2007, all four primetime TBS telecasts of Hero's events bested Dream's ratings, with March's Hero's installment gaining a 12.1, June's K-1 “Dynamite!! USA” netting a 11.1, the July 154-pound grand prix opener notching a 10.9 and the September tournament finale earning a 12.5.

In 2006, the four primetime TBS editions of Hero's drew respective ratings of 11.8, 14.5, 9.3 and 14.6.

The last two major primetime shows from FEG's other brands, K-1 and K-1 MAX, have both performed better. The K-1 World Grand Prix card, broadcast on June 29 on Fuji TV, drew a 11.6 rating, while the telecast of the July 7 K-1 World MAX quarterfinals took a 12.4 rating on TBS.
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