In a bold move to ensure fight fans catch enough sleep to make Sunday morning mass, the UFC will test out an earlier 9PM ET/6PM PT start time for their live pay-per-view broadcasts. According to the card’s official event page, “UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields” on April 30th will serve as the company’s guinea pig show.
Practically all of the Octagon’s PPVs have aired at 10PM ET/7PM PT, including UFC 127 which took place in Australia last month. Some overseas shows have also been offered via same-day tape-delay, but to marginal success.
While the move could be one-and-done depending upon the outcome, whoever thought of the idea certainly hedged their bet by linking up with the largest live MMA scrap in North American history. A whopping 55,000 screaming Canadians will pack the Rogers Centre in Toronto for UFC 129, so imagine how many around the world will be paying to watch Georges St-Pierre defend his welterweight crown against Jake Shields.
The news comes as a welcomed surprise for most media outlets, who often find themselves scrambling to meet deadlines because of the events’ late endings. A typical PPV broadcast will run well past midnight on the east coast.
Furthermore, the post-fight press conference is where most of the goods are offered up. Tacking on an additional 90 minutes for follow-up notes and quotes isn’t out of the norm.
Unfortunately, the costs of the pay-per-views remain the same at $44.95 (+$10 in HD*).
“UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones” on March 19th will start at 10PM ET/7PM PT.
Here is the official roster for UFC 129:
John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson
Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen
Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia
Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts
Pablo Garza vs. Yves Jabouin
(Spike TV 8PM ET/9PM PT)
Brian Foster vs. Sean Pierson
Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald
Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz
Mark Hominick vs. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion)
Jake Shields vs. Georges St-Pierre (UFC Welterweight Champion)
* – DirecTV charges an additional $10 for high-definition. Do your providers do that, too?