14 for 14: No. 11: UFC continues global expansion

December 27, 2014

The UFC held 22 events outside of the United States in 2014 in its continued expansion of the brand.  The expansion will not end as 2015 will bring one more event in the new year making 23 events to be held outside the United States.

Arguably, Mexico City, Mexico and Dublin, Ireland were the two hottest spots for international events for the UFC this year.

In recent days, the UFC has hired Ken Berger to direct UFC’s Asian division.  Zuffa let go of Mark Fischer in August and promoted Garry Cook from the UK region to UFC’s Chief Global Officer.

In April, the UFC visited Abu Dhabi and Quebec City, Quebec.  It was the first time the UFC made it to Quebec City and the second to Abu Dhabi.

In May, the UFC visited Berlin for the first time.

In June, the UFC and Vale Tudo Japan announced a partnership which would help the Japanese organization in promoting its fighters.  Although no news has yet come down, the two companies announced a TV show featuring Japanese fighters would be produced in the future.  Dana White indicated that this show would be available on Fight Pass.  The UFC held an event in Japan this past September which aired on Fight Pass.

The UFC also visited New Zealand for the first time in June.

In July, the UFC visited Dublin for UFC Fight Night 46 featuring Conor McGregor.  The event was a success with McGregor defeating Diego Brandao before 9,500 fans.  MMA Fighting reported that he ticket demand was high and nearly all the tickets sold within hours of going on sale.  The event was a Fight Pass exclusive and White indicated it was the biggest event on the platform to date.  The success of the event sparked interest of a potential stadium show in Ireland likely featuring McCregor.

The UFC also visited Nova Scotia for the first time in October.

Similarly, UFC 180 in Mexico City was a sellout within 8 hours as 21,000 tickets were scooped up for the intended main event of Cain Velasquez versus Febricio Werdum.  Unfortunately, Velasquez was injured prior to the event and Mark Hunt stepped in.  The injury likely hurt PPV buys.

The UFC announced a stadium show for January 2015 in Sweden where native Alexander Gustafson would take on Anthony Johnson as part of the January UFC on Fox event.

The UFC’s signature series, The Ultimate Fighter included a TUF Nations Edition (Canada vs. Australia), TUF Brazil, TUF China and TUF Latin America.

Payout Perspective:

Despite its recent credit downgrade in October, Standard & Poor’s indicated that one of the positives for Zuffa was its international expansion.  With big shows in Dublin and Mexico City this year, there is hope of building new audiences in these areas.  Of course, that is dependent on the country’s stars (i.e., Conor McGregor, Cain Velasquez).  According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, for 2015, its Reebok deal will mean UFC logo gear in retail stores around the world, expansion of the UFC gym business globally and targeting Russia, South Korea, Scotland and Panama or Costa Rica.

6 Responses to “14 for 14: No. 11: UFC continues global expansion”

  1. michael on December 27th, 2014 1:24 AM

    The Germany cards (except UFC99) are offensive in how irrelevant the fights were – that’s not how you gain fans

  2. tops E on December 27th, 2014 3:08 AM

    Not global domination…more of “Tours”hahaha…

  3. Pink Pig on December 27th, 2014 10:41 AM

    Boxing has been and is thriving in all of those international markets on a regular basis.

    UFC is so “meh”…

  4. d on December 27th, 2014 4:54 PM

    Boxing couldn’t fill up a barn in Brazil or Japan unless the tickets were free and they are no where near as popular as mma is in Canada.

  5. MK5 on December 27th, 2014 10:33 PM

    Boxing is a lot more popular in Japan, and they took over the NYE show…

  6. saldathief on December 31st, 2014 4:16 PM

    GSP= UFC only Canadian draw. UfC without GSP is a joke! Brazil has had many successful boxers and shows, AND THEY DIDNT HALF TO SPEND A HALF A BILLION TO NOT SELL OUT hahahaha UFC in Brazil is a fucking joke!!!!!

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