UFC, a business that keeps breaking records

By Graciemag

In a press conference held over the phone this Tuesday the 15th, UFC president Dana White spoke of the significant growth the event has experienced, proven by the spike in pay-per-view packages sold and the success in ticket sales at the events held around the world.

“It’s truly phenomenal the success we’ve seen in ticket sales around the world. We made $11 million in ticket sales for UFC 129 in Toronto. In Australia (UFC 127, February 27), it will be around US$ 3.5 million; we made US$ 4.5 million in Montreal, in Ireland, US$ 1.6 million; and the last time we did Vancouver we made US$ 4.2 million,” recounts Dana White, who celebrated a record 55 thousand tickets sold for UFC 129, set for April 30.

The event, for the first time ever to be held in a stadium, Toronto’s Rogers Centre, is already a landmark in UFC history. The 42 thousand tickets sold out in minutes. Due to the enormous demand, this number was subsequently raised to 55 thousand, which also quickly sold out.

“I always talk about how big an event like this can be in Canada and how the UFC is growing internationally. It was exceptional that we sold 55 thousand tickets. A record. But the question is: ow many people were looking for tickets? 25 thousand? 30 thousand, maybe?” queried the UFC president.

Dana admitted that, due to the enormous worldwide growth of the event, the day will come when events will have to be held simultaneously in different countries.

“We’re taking everything up a level. The UFC is taking on bigger proportions. I have no doubt that it will be the most popular sport in the world. And the day will come – I can’t believe I’m going to say this – but the day will come when we will hold, for example, an event in Las Vegas and another in Australia on the same day. That’s the direction we’re heading,” he declared.


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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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UFC 129 fans get burned on tickets

By Mark Hebert

Fans still looking for UFC 129 seats in Toronto will have to pay up — way up — for tickets.

Originally, tickets for the April 30 event were sold for $40 to $800, but scalpers are selling them online for as much as $6,000. Hentley Small, 35, said he failed to buy tickets last week.

“They sold 40,000 of the 42,000 tickets to Fight Club members,” the Scarborough resident said.

“They shouldn’t even have had a public on-sale date if they’re just going to sell them all to Fight Club members.”

While the event is a sellout, hundreds of tickets are being offered on websites like stubhub.com. “We don’t own the tickets,” said Mike, who works for StubHub. He didn’t want his last name used. “We do not own the marketplace.”

He added that it’s not unusual to see tickets resell for higher prices. “It changes from seller to seller and event to event,” Mike said.

On Craigslist.ca, prices range from $99 to $2,700.



UFC has stranglehold on T.O. fans

By Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun

Deciding Toronto would be the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first ever stadium show was a bold but calculated move that has paid off big time.

Building on the momentum that began long before Ontario finally lifted its ban on the sport of mixed martial arts, the company’s affable president Dana White announced back in December that UFC 129 would be held at the Rogers Centre on April 30 and the event aimed to smash their previous North American attendance record.

When advance tickets finally went on sale on Thursday, fight fans were chomping at the bit and some 42,000 tickets were snatched up in about seven minutes.

“The response was absolutely overwhelming,” Tom Wright, the UFC’s director of Canadian operations, told the Sun.

It was so overwhelming the UFC quickly decided to add more seats.  Wright wasn’t immediately able to say how many seats were added, but those tickets sold out in four minutes on Friday.  The tickets were originally sold for between $300 and $800 for floor seats. But some are already being resold for tens of thousands of dollars. Reports online suggest front-row seats are going for a whopping $39,999.

The UFC opened up a select number of additional seats a second time, so there would be some tickets available when they officially went on sale Saturday. But Wright made it clear the UFC has no intention of trying to break the Rogers Centre’s attendance record of 68,237, set in 2002 with Wrestlemania 18.


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Ticket sales floor Toronto organizers, Expected to break North American records

By Dave Deibert, The Montreal Gazette

Ultimate Fighting Championship officials knew seats for UFC 129 in Toronto were going to be the hottest ticket in town. But what they saw Thursday left them nearly breathless.

“The response was overwhelming,” said UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright in an interview.

Tracking sales on Thursday as they happened, UFC officials saw that within the first 10 minutes they had to make more seats available. Within one hour, they were down to single seats. By the end of the work day, Wright said they were “north of (40,000)” tickets sold.

Wright was optimistic leading up to the on-sale date, but tried to stay realistic. He said he was simply hoping ticket sales the first day for the much-anticipated April 30 UFC debut in Toronto would go “really well.”

“Frankly, we’re doing even better than really well,” he added. “What a day.”

When demand is so high for an event, it’s goes without saying that some of the tickets will wind up in the hands of secondary sellers.

“I’d be lying if I said no scalpers got tickets,” Wright acknowledged.

But, he said, the company did all it could to keep those numbers down, including limiting the number of tickets one person could buy.


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