MMA Demographic: Young, Wealthy, High-Tech

November 24, 2009

A recent study published by Scarborough Sports Marketing reveals some additional insight into what we already know about the MMA demographic:

MMA Fans are Avid Technology, Automotive and Retail Consumers


NEW YORK, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ — Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), a sport combining boxing and martial arts, is attracting young, well-established, high-tech consumers, according to sports fan research firm Scarborough Sports Marketing. Scarborough examined the shopping patterns, demographics and lifestyles of Mixed Martial Arts fans* and found that these adults are 51 percent more likely than the average American to be ages 18-24; 25 percent more likely to have a household size of three or more people; and 67 percent more likely to be male.


In addition to their youthful demographics, MMA fans have sound financials. They are 15 percent more likely than the average American adult to have a household income of $75k+ and 10 percent more likely to own a second home. They are selective investors and six percent more likely to have stocks or stock options in their household, and 33 percent more likely to invest online.


“In recent years, MMA, through UFC and Strikeforce, has moved from being an emerging athletic genre to more of a mainstream, established and competitive sport. In doing so, it has developed a young male fan base,” said Howard Goldberg, senior vice president, Scarborough Sports Marketing. “Sports marketing has proven its value through a difficult economic climate, and MMA can help marketers capitalize on their customers’ engagement with sports.”


In addition to being young, male and well-established, MMA fans represent a high-tech audience. They are not only well above the national average for current ownership of high-tech household items such as HDTVs, VOD service, video game systems and broadband Internet connections, but they are more likely to plan to upgrade their household wares. (see chart below for further details)


Beyond technology, the MMA fan base could also have appeal to automotive marketers. These fans represent 15 percent of all adults planning to buy a new pickup truck for their household during the next year, and are 85 percent more likely than the average adult to plan such a purchase within the next year. Other new vehicle categories appealing to the MMA fan include:


•Full-size Cars: MMA fans account for 18 percent of the market for potential new buyers** of full-size cars, and are more than twice as likely as all adults to plan this household vehicle purchase during the next year
•SUVs: MMA fans account for 10 percent of the market for potential new buyers** of SUVs, and are 19 percent more likely to plan this household vehicle purchase during the next year
•Luxury Vehicles: MMA fans account for 15 percent of the market for potential new buyers** of luxury vehicles, and are 84 percent more likely to plan this household vehicle purchase during the next year

Their household and personal shopping and buying patterns are also notable beyond technology and vehicles. The MMA fan is 15 percent more likely to live in a household that shopped at a furniture/mattress store during the past year, and 35 percent more likely to live in a household that shopped at a large appliance store during the past year. In the business-to-business category, MMA fans are 62 percent more likely than the average adult to be a corporate decision maker for overnight delivery services, and 37 percent more likely to make office equipment and supplies purchase decisions for their companies.


“From technology to automotive and household appliances to corporate delivery services, the MMA fan clearly represents a solid audience for a great diversity of marketers,” said Mr. Goldberg. “Those who begin leveraging this league’s fan base now will have unique opportunities to begin establishing brand loyalty within their ranks.”


Household Technology Profile of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fan


Mixed Martial Arts Fans
Mixed Martial Arts Fans who PLAN TO BUY
who CURRENTLY OWN (Index, (Index, 100=National
Household Technology 100= National Average) Average)
——————– ————————- ———————–
Computer 108 176
Digital Camera 118 152
DVR 108 229
DVD Player 114 155
Energy Saving
Appliance 129 151
HDTV 115 168
PDA (Blackberry,
etc.) 149 238
MP3 Player (i.e.
iPod) 144 189
Satellite Radio
Subscription 152 289
Satellite TV
Subscription 112 174
Video Game System 156 258
VoIP 161 226
Broadband 113 NA
——— — —


* “Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fans” are defined as those adults who watched Mixed Martial Arts on broadcast or cable television during the past year.


** Automotive “potential new buyers” are adults who plan to buy a vehicle within the next year


SOURCE: Scarborough Sports Marketing, Scarborough USA+ Study, Release 1 2009 (6 months)


About Scarborough Sports Marketing


Scarborough Sports Marketing (,, measures local and national consumer and lifestyle information by interviewing over 221,000 adults (18+) in 81 Top-Tier Markets, including all professional sports markets. Scarborough sports measurements include fan avidity; multi-media measures including sports viewing and listening; corporate sponsorship information including fans’ shopping and product/service usage; and leisure activities. Scarborough delivers twice-yearly updates of its local market reports to a diverse client base, spanning all major media, advertisers and their agencies. Scarborough Sports Marketing is a division of Scarborough Research, which is a joint venture between Arbitron Inc. and The Nielsen Company.


SOURCE Scarborough Sports Marketing

Payout Perspective:

The study helps to re-affirm some of the results previously brought to light by other studies, but goes further by suggesting that the MMA demographic, in addition to being quite youthful, is also typically more affluent than average. It follows then, that an interest in high technology and automobiles is also fairly high.

Sports Business Daily adds the following about the study:

Below are select demos for MMA fans. For example, 32% of MMA fans are between the ages of 18-29, while 8% of MMA fans have bought sports logo apparel on the Internet during the past 12 months ( Scarborough Sports Marketing ).
















Full season tickets


Individual game tickets


Partial season tickets


Not interested



Cable TV network site


Download/play video games


Download/watch movies


Download/watch TV programs


Download/watch/listen to podcasts


Fantasy sports


Sports scores/updates



Sporting event tickets


Sports logo apparel



What does this mean for MMA? The sport may be on the verge of a second wave of high profile sponsors within the next few years – everything from electronics to automotive companies – that ought to be looking at the sport as a way to reach concentrated numbers of young, wealthy individuals.

However, it needs to be said that sponsorship is a two-way street. In order to attract these sponsors, the sport and its promotions need to do more than just offer up a demographic – it’s all about reciprocity. MMA’s various properties will need to work hand-in-hand with these clients to add material value and deliver ROI. Specifically that means the following:

  • Reaching out to potential sponsors to see what they need (target demographics, value-added metrics, and ROI)
  • Finding creative ways to better link the sponsorship product with the property medium (i.e., improve the linkage between MMA and whatever product that’s actually sponsoring)

5 Responses to “MMA Demographic: Young, Wealthy, High-Tech”

  1. Adam Swift on November 24th, 2009 12:01 PM

    This is really interesting news and sure to set off waves of pitchbook revisions. The data on affluence strongly contradicts the ESPN Sports Poll’s first look at the MMA demo from 2007, and most other marketing surveys that I have seen.

    At that time the demo was found to be less affluent on average than non-MMA sports fans with a higher concentration of households under $40,000 and closely in line with the undesirable pro wrestling demo.

    If this survey holds up (I would like to see it confirmed by TNS), then it would mark a significant shift in the conventional wisdom in MMA.

  2. scfyi on November 24th, 2009 12:36 PM

    Didn’t Dana state that the audience watching the UFC were rich ( $75,000 income)?
    The findings of this survey seem to verify Dana’s statement.

    I thought the conventional wisdom of the composition of the MMA demo was that of wealthy young male white people.

  3. Adam Swift on November 24th, 2009 12:45 PM

    I should have said the conventional wisdom *on* MMA as opposed to in MMA.

  4. uberVU - social comments on November 24th, 2009 8:25 PM

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by MMAPayoutdotcom: New MMA demographic study: young, wealthy, and high-tech (…

  5. Rated Republican Superstar on September 8th, 2014 8:46 PM

    These are the fans that WWE was getting during the more adult oriented product in the Attitude Era from 1997-2002.

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