The Price It Takes: How much does it cost to be an MMA fan?

September 6, 2010

On this Labor Day, MMA Payout takes a look at how much of your hard-earned money you can spend on being a fan.

UFC 118 was the company’s sixth of the year with four more to go. PPVs buys are an essential part of UFC’s growth.  With the internet and hype shows on SpikeTV like UFC Countdown, Prelims and Weigh-Ins, the UFC does a great job of enticing fans to buy PPVs. The addition of UFC Fight Night, UFC on Versus and The Ultimate Fighter expose the casual fan to the sport and to fighters. Through the exposure, fans draw interest in certain fighters and understand the nuances of MMA.

PPVs

On DirecTV, UFC PPVs have a price point of $54.95 plus tax if you purchase the PPV in HD. If not, you save $10 as non-HD is $49.95.

In addition, the WEC held its first PPV this spring. It had a price point of $49.95 to view in HD.

To purchase all 10 UFC PPVs in HD would be $549.50. Add on the WEC PPV and you have spent over $600 on PPVs from Zuffa.

In addition to UFC PPVs, there are other MMA PPVs available for purchase. If you don’t have Showtime, you could have purchased the Strikeforce Houston show for $24.95. The upcoming Noons vs. Diaz fight will be available on PPV for $24.95

Shine Fights has an upcoming PPV available for $29.95 on September 10th. On September 11th,  Shark Fights features UFC alums Keith Jardine and Houston Alexander  on PPV. As of today, Direct TV lists Shine Fights available for purchase but not Shark Fights PPV.

Merchandise

Watching the PPVs, you can see many fans with fighter merchandise. Frankie Edgar’s walkout t-shirt from Affliction list price is $57.99. Edgar’s t-shirt is at the top of the price point. Only Rampage Jackson’s walkout t-shirt against Rashard Evans also listed at the astronomical price of $58. BJ Penn’s t-shirt for UFC 118 went for $26.99. Most start at $29.99 and up.

If you are into shorts, fight shorts are available online and range from $49.99 to $69.99.

Tickets

If you want to attend a UFC live, you will need to pay a hefty price.  According to ticketmaster, UFC 118 ticket prices ranged from $75 to $600. MMA Mania has a good look at  the difference between UFC ticket prices for UFC 118 and 119. For the big Velasquez v. Lesnar fight at UFC 120 in Anaheim, the ticket prices range from $92.75 to $527.

In comparison to the PPVs, seats for September 15th’s UFC Ultimate Fight Night on SpikeTV range from $30 to $185.

Payout Perspective

The annual expense of being an MMA fan can put a chokehold on your budget.  For the casual fan, purchasing PPVs will be based on the promotion surrounding the matches (see Toney vs. Couture) and the draw of the fighter (see Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar, GSP). With BJ Penn out of the lightweight picture for now, there is debate as to whether Edgar can carry a main event PPV against his next opponent, Gray Maynard. However, I’d expect that the UFC would find compelling storylines in the runup to the fight to sell Edgar vs. Maynard.

Since the evolution of T-Shirt companies like Tapout, the popularity of MMA t-shirts has grown. However, paying $58 for a Frankie Edgar t-shirt is a steep price. It would be interesting to see the sales of Edgar’s shirt versus Penn’s UFC 118 t-shirt. Even though Penn lost, you could have bought two of his t-shirt for the price of one Edgar shirt.

An MMA fan could spend close t0 $1,000 on buying MMA PPVs and a couple t-shirts. If you go to a UFC event, you will spend much more (considering travel, hotel and tickets).

As disposable incomes shrink, MMA fans will become much more frugal with their purchases. This will put a greater emphasis on the quality of PPV and the popularity of the fighter.

11 Responses to “The Price It Takes: How much does it cost to be an MMA fan?”

  1. Brain Smasher on September 7th, 2010 1:09 AM

    Here is a rough breakdown of my UFC 118 cost for my brother and I. From West Virginia to Boston, Mass.

    Tickets for 2: $550(face value $360)
    Hotel 2 nights: $200
    Gas round trip: $150
    tolls: $60
    Food: $200+
    Speeding ticket doing 88 in a 65 limit, reduced to disobedience on a turnpike: $110
    Gambling: $500

    Total cost minus speeding and gambling: $1200

    Watching James Toney get dumped on his head by Captain America: Priceless!!!!

  2. VEe on September 7th, 2010 6:03 AM

    Call me a really cheap fan. A t-shirt for $30 – $50? I’ll only purchase that as a gift for some one else. I’ll just spend money on a number of PPV’s. If I go to a bar to watch a PPV, I have to factor in transportation, $10 entry fee, then money for drinks and maybe an appetizer or two which will usually end up costing more than $50 that I could have spent staying home.

  3. Eric Nitsch on September 7th, 2010 8:04 AM

    Let us not forget the value of our time. If we factor in a price for the time that we spend watching, researching, and reading about MMA when we could be doing other things, that would atddup to some considerable money as well.

  4. Stan Kosek on September 7th, 2010 8:17 AM

    Only a handful of times, twice that I can remember and that was due to raging snowstorms here in Chicago, that I got a PPV by myself. Usually my friends and I take turns getting them, and we watch a vast majority of the UFCs and watched the Affliction ones. If you do it like that and split food, you don’t end up spending that much money on MMA viewing.

    If we get a PPV with like 5 people, and get drinks and some food, it’s around 20-25 a person, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than going out to a bar for drinks for the night.

  5. Machiel Van on September 7th, 2010 9:10 AM

    The UFC hype machine has certainly met its match with Edgar vs Maynard II. Screams co-main event to me, I really doubt that even the well oiled Zuffa marketing machine can find a way to sell that bout as a stand-alone headliner.

  6. RJB on September 7th, 2010 9:24 AM

    Well if you’re a fan of mixed martial arts and not strictly A UFC fan or Dana White fan (yes I differentiate between the 3) then watching MMA really isn’t expensive especially if you’re just a little creative.

    Watching HDNet Fights online doesn’t cost me a thing, my Showtime subscription is $5 a month for a year, the MSG Plus channel here in NY does show all the Bellator events & only 2 have been tape delayed so far.

    There’s also numerous sites from Youtube to Daily Motion, etc. where you can watch tons of MMA fights.
    Downloading Fights and using torrents are another way to catch MMA that isn’t televised.

    I should add I haven’t ordered a Zuffa PPV since UFC 77 and that’s obviously a huge savings.

  7. jv on September 7th, 2010 1:37 PM

    I decided about 9 months ago that I wasn’t going to pay for any more PPVs and I have to say I really don’t miss them. There is lots of other MMA out there at a price I find more acceptable. If people do want to spend that kind of money though I say have at it. It just isn’t for me.

  8. BrainSmasher on September 7th, 2010 1:38 PM

    Lets hope everyone isnt like RJB. MMA orgs would be bankrupt and the sport would die. lol. Lets just hope he isnt one of the fans who bitch about fighters pay. That would be ironic.

  9. rick on September 7th, 2010 11:37 PM

    I am glad that peeple like RJB do not spend that much for MMA or UFC. AS far as i am concern I would rather the sport stay the was it is..but i know the fighters need to start getting paid. I like it this way because it keeps the rif-raf people out of the scene. I dont want this sport to get all ghetto!

  10. Joey Todoroff on September 8th, 2010 2:47 PM

    interesting piece. must read when i have the time. I’d also like to elaborate on my cost to be an mma fan.

  11. Unknown on January 5th, 2011 11:34 AM

    Rediculous how much they charge for ppv tickets…

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