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In sports, a card comprises a listing of the matches taking place in a title-match combat-sport event. Organizers divide overall cards into a main-event match and the undercard, which encompasses the rest of the matches. One can also further subdivide the undercard into midcard and lower card, according to the perceived importance of the matches. Promoters schedule matches to occur in ascending order of importance.

Contents

Division

Undercard

The undercard, or preliminary matches, consists of preliminary bouts that occur before the headline or "main event" of a particular boxing,[1] professional wrestling,[2] horse racing,[3] auto racing, or other sports event. (In auto racing, however, the term "support race" occurs more commonly.) Typically, promoters intend the undercard to provide fans with an opportunity to see up-and-coming fighters or fighters not so well-known and popular as their counterparts in the main event. The undercard also ensures that if the main event ends quickly fans will still feel that they received sufficient value for the price of their admission.

In boxing, undercard matches usually only last for four rounds, to ensure that the crowd does not have to wait too long for the main event. In professional wrestling, undercard matches usually last for five to ten minutes: the audience does not have to wait too long for the main event and the promoters often have to fulfil contractual television agreements. Professional wrestling unofficially subdivides the undercard into uppercard, midcard and lower card matches,[4] which roughly correlate to the fame and quality of performance of the wrestlers involved.

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Main event

A main event takes place as the final match of a title-match-system sporting event. The term occurs primarily with reference to combat sports such as boxing, professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. The main event, generally the most prestigious match on the card, has the most promotion behind it. The match commonly involves a contest for a top championship, but may feature another special attraction. Sometimes, multiple matches of equally high importance take place at the end of a card in succession, billed as a "double main event" or (rarely) as a "triple main event". Advertising for sporting bouts focuses primarily on their main events.

Supercard

A supercard consists of a title match combat sport event which comprises multiple high-level matches and/or special attractions.[5] Promoters advertise supercards heavily, and tickets often cost more than at standard-card events.

Supercards serve as the focal point of professional wrestling promotions and can function as a primary source of revenue for such promotions.[6] As of 2009, mainstream American pro wrestling holds supercards at least annually and broadcasts them on pay-per-view (PPV) television. While the two major companies, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), run PPV events every month; only a few class as "supercards". Wrestling supercards often recur annually; WWE's WrestleMania, arguably the most famous of these, has run since 1985. WWE runs three other supercards per year (SummerSlam, Royal Rumble and Survivor Series), but does not promote these at the level of WrestleMania. TNA has three supercards: Bound for Glory, Lockdown, and Slammiversary. Bound for Glory, the most prominent of the three, has taken place annually since 2005. Examples of non-pay-per-view supercards include Saturday Night's Main Event and Clash of the Champions.

In other sports, such as boxing and mixed martial arts, supercards occur more rarely. They usually involve a "dream fight" and multiple title defenses.[7]

References

  1. ^ An undercard boxing match reviewed on ESPN
  2. ^ Use of the word "undercard" in wrestling
  3. ^ 2007 Preakness Undercard Results
  4. ^ Card
  5. ^ Starrcade, the original "super card" John Molinaro. SLAM! Wrestling. SLAM! Sports online.
  6. ^ The McMahons: Creating a Synergistic Media Empire Massachusetts Institute of Technology Comparative Media Studies: Professional Wrestling. "Eventually, these super-events became so popular that they became one of the main sources for company revenue."
  7. ^ UFC and Pride merge, is boxing doomed? Jeff Soklin. TouchGloves.com News. March 29, 2007

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