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.
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.