July 06, 2009
Event No. 100 is right around the corner for the UFC. It's a long way from the days of struggling to sell 4,000 tickets. The UFC is a lock from a live gate standpoint, events regularly draw between 12,000-16,000 around the country, yet the promotion has to be incredibly proactive to court coverage similar to the NFL, NBA, MLB and even NASCAR in those local markets. That irks UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta along with president Dana White. Newspapers for the most part still turn the their noses up at mixed martial arts. That included the UFC's hometown newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, until recently when the paper named Adam Hill, the first full-time MMA newspaper beat reporter in the U.S. But that doesn't mean the Fertittas and White are curtailing the fight in Sin City. The UFC sort of lashes out at the local media for the lack of attention in a Sunday story in the LVRJ.
"We felt like we were not getting the appropriate amount of credit for what we're bringing to the local economy," said Lawrence Epstein, Zuffa's executive vice president and general counsel.
AA spoke with 400 UFC 94 attendees and came up with some impressive numbers about the quality of the UFC fanbase that can afford to attend the events:
According to the study, 42 percent of UFC 94 visitors have a household income greater than $100,000, compared with 24 percent of the city's overall visitors.
UFC visitors also gamble more than typical Las Vegas visitors, arriving with a gambling budget of $931 compared with $556 for all visitors.
Nongambling expenses for UFC 94 visitors was nearly double those for other visitors, too: $1,528 per person versus $869 per person.
The UFC also argues that it gives massive exposure to Las Vegas by holding 6-10 events per year at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mandalay Bay Events Center and the Palms. The pay-per-views alone expose 33.7 million people to Sin City with event and Octagon signage, and various shots of the venues and casinos.
The LVRJ is planning on three MMA stories per week during non-event weeks and is having Hill travel to cover every UFC event domestically and internationally.
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