Dana White on boxing prices: ‘That model doesn’t work’

By Sergio Non

Do large revenues trump large audiences?

The size of a crowd at an event isn’t as important as the size of the live gate, boxing promoter Bob Arum said this week, during a roundtable with USA TODAY journalists. The head of the Ultimate Fighting Championship begs to differ. Pricing tickets expensively might generate short-term profits, but it detracts from a sport’s ability to build a loyal fanbase, UFC President Dana White believes. He spoke to USA TODAY about it on Wednesday:

Q: You’ve had a string of sellouts lately. How has your average ticket price held up?
Very well…I don’t want to do crazy, overpriced tickets like boxing does. Somebody asked me, “How come you guys don’t do gates like boxing does? $20 million, $30 million gates?” Because boxing’s a completely different model. That model doesn’t work. Real people buy tickets to the UFC events. These guys (in boxing) did all these events in Las Vegas, and the tickets were insanely priced where fans couldn’t even buy them, and the casinos bought them all up. We don’t do that. We sold 55,000 tickets in Toronto to UFC fans.

Q: If you can get a big live gate, why not go for it?
I consider what we’re doing right now a big, live gate, especially in this economy.

Q: Ok, but if you can do a bigger live gate, why not do it?
I just don’t think that’s good for long term. I just don’t think you do that. I don’t think you charge that much money for tickets. We already have one of the highest ticket prices in sports, if you look at our average ticket price, and we kill it. I mean, how greedy are you going to get? (chuckles)

 

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