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.
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.
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.
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.
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.