Can UFC end decline in Toronto gates with UFC 165?

July 11, 2013

Morgan Campbell of The Toronto Star reports on the economic future of the UFC in Canada at the recent press conference held in the city hyping the upcoming Jon Jones-Alexsander Gustaffson fight taking place at UFC 165 in September.

Campbell highlighted the fact that the last three cards held in Toronto have seen declining gates. UFC 129 earned a gate of C$12 million, UFC 140 earned C$3.9 million and last year’s event drew C$1.9 million for UFC 152.

Campbell spoke with UFC Canada head Tom Wright and he stated that the UFC gate would be better than a typical Toronto Maple Leafs game.

“Toronto is, at times, a snobby sports city,” said Wright.  He indicated the fact that Jones, arguably the new best pound for pound fighter in the world, would placate the picky Toronto fans.  Wright also noted that more Canadians would be added to the card.  Currently, four are set to fight on September 21st.

Payout Perspective:

Obviously UFC 129 is the outlier here since it was held at a bigger venue and a UFC marquee event.  Yet, Campbell brought up concern with the dwindling returns of the gate and the economic impact it would have on the local businesses.  Something not brought up in the report was that Jon Jones will have main evented the last 3 Toronto cards including the upcoming UFC 165.  Does the decrease in gate revenue coincide with Jones as a headliner?  Last year’s UFC 152 was an interesting case since many had soured on Jones for declining a Chael Sonnen fight (which ultimately cancelled UFC 151) and not many gave Vitor Belfort a chance against Jones.  But, with UFC 165 coming and Chris Weidman’s upset of Anderson Silva plus another title fight on the card for the Featherweight title, we may see a bump in gate receipts this time around.

4 Responses to “Can UFC end decline in Toronto gates with UFC 165?”

  1. mmalogic on July 11th, 2013 2:52 PM

    the decline is due to ufc programming being all over the place. with sportsnet 360 (like fs1 in the USA) most UFC content will be on one channel and with the wednesday night timeslots they had on spike.

  2. Tops of on July 11th, 2013 3:46 PM

    Wow that’s a huge huge decline in gate receipts……They just want st. Pierre….

  3. aintitthetruth on July 11th, 2013 9:50 PM

    Get the crow back.

  4. David Lewington on July 15th, 2013 3:41 AM

    How can you say there is a huge decline when there are only three shows to base it on? You can’t even put UFC 129 into the equation since it holds the record of the biggest show and gate the UFC has ever done and it’s held in a different venue. The first show held at the ACC UFC 140 had a very respectable gate and great card as well as being sold out, so how can that be a decline when it basically did the best it could do? As for UFC 152 held at the ACC it was destined to not do as well. We saw the ticket prices lower right off the bat and most people where still very upset with the headliner Jon Jones for refusing to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice at UFC 151 and therefore getting the entire card cancelled (a first in the UFC’s history since Zuffa took over). Not only did you have the headliner Jon Jones being hated by fans at this point, then he was set up for a title with a fighter who had not fought at LHW in years and was a true middleweight , nobody thought Belfort even had a chance. The rest of the card was not that great either in most casual fans eyes which also didn’t help. I don’t think it is a decline of interst in the UFC in Ontario or Toronto. But rather the fans up here are educated and expect a great card, as they were givin in the past. I’m not so sure if putting Jon Jones as a headliner for the third time in a row is the best idea but at least we get to see another championship fight that night as well (and the Bantomweight title fighters will bring it). For sure the Numbers for this card will be right in line as the first showing at the ACC , and MMA is definately alive and well in Toronto.

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