UFC to gain during NFL lockout?

March 23, 2011

A recent op-ed on CBSNews.com believes that the UFC will be able to gain mainstream acceptance as the NFL muddles in labor uncertainty. It also takes aim at lawmakers that don’t see the sport as a source of revenue for a stumbling economy.

Via CBSNews.com:

The UFC may appear like an upstart against the NFL powerhouse in terms of fan base, revenue and reputation, but securing absolute ownership of the elite athletes of the sport signals that Dana White and company are an entertainment force to be reckoned with. Bringing together the sport under one brand allows greater fan loyalty, more marketing opportunities and exponential revenue growth. It’s a game-changer within an industry historically dominated by the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.

But now the UFC has been elevated to the elite club of sports entertainment organizations. And like most grassroots movements, the mainstream media and politicians are the last to realize it.

…The UFC has risen from its humble beginnings in 1993 to surpass the one billion dollar mark; and it’s now broadcasting in more than 130 countries. Fighters Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson are crossover successes and starred in two Hollywood blockbusters last year – The Expendables and The A-Team, respectively. When Charlie Sheen’s fight with Chuck Lorre and CBS erupted, he name dropped the octagon – the UFC’s standard fight structure – as the place to bring his tiger blood and fire-breathing fists. And the UFC is one of the premiere case studies of how social media can deliver when done right. White’s embrace of Twitter showcases his strong personality and fan-appeal and he has personally won over legions of paying followers with his unparalleled direct dialogue. With a rabid and growing fan base, the UFC’s ceiling is nowhere in sight.

As the NFL’s labor situation spirals out of control and with the NBA only a few months from a similar fate, UFC’s owner Zuffa LLC and White are surely brushing up on their history. The redneck, uncouth reputation that’s unfairly been attached to the UFC like a scarlet letter is starting to fade. Don’t let the tattoos, dark music and gallons of blood spilled on the mat fool you, this is a multi-billion dollar industry.

The article goes on to ask why lawmakers have neglected the sport as a revenue stream:

The political elites in Washington, financial whizs on Wall Street and studio heads in Hollywood ignore the sport at their own peril. An economic impact report last year determined the sport could generate $25 million a year in benefits to New York alone if the state allows fights to be held and regulated. That’s based on holding only two events. In the midst of the financial crisis, legislators in Albany and Washington, DC have foolishly failed to ignore the sport. And taxpayers should be outraged.

You don’t have to be a football or mixed martial arts fan to appreciate the spectacle of an American sports entertainment industry rising to world-wide prominence. It’s a uniquely American story that should be celebrated by even government tax collectors.

Payout Perspective:

This is a good piece from a mainstream outlet that understands that MMA is a profitable sport and should be given its due. Its rare to see articles that are willing to accept MMA and realize the economic impact it can have.  It does a good job of calling out Albany in pressuring lawmakers to legalize MMA in NY.

One Response to “UFC to gain during NFL lockout?”

  1. Machiel Van on March 24th, 2011 9:23 PM

    Interesting how this article came out shortly after the Zuffa/Strikeforce acquisition was made offical.

    And also at a time when CBS is hoping the NFL will resolve its labor disbute so they can bid on broadcasting rights.

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