New study reveals $68 million economic impact with MMA in New York

November 21, 2013

Newsday reports on a new study provided by the UFC on Thursday which reveals that the legalization of MMA in New York State would result in a $68 million economic impact within the state.

The new findings from a study commissioned by the UFC reveal that the state’s potential economic benefit is 3 times the amount than that of a similar study in 2011.  In that study, it concluded an economic impact of $23 million.  The new study’s economic impact includes an anticipated 5 UFC events in the state and factors in events from Bellator, World Series of Fighting and Ring of Combat.  In addition, the study indicates that “statewide expansion of UFC Gyms would generate an additional $67 million in spending per year by 2017.”  This would boost the economic impact to $135 million.

Specifically, the study reveals that two UFC events in New York city would generate $16 million in economic activity.  The study also estimates $12.2 million in ticket sales per event which would be a record in the U.S.  Three UFC events per year in cities such as Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany would produce $18 million in those areas.

(H/t: Adam Martin)

Payout Perspective:

Will persistence ever pay off for the UFC in New York?  The latest study, which the UFC paid for, indicates that the events would give the state an economic influx from its events as well as business for the hospitality industry.  What has changed since the 2011 study is that the UFC is holding more live events and factors this into the new study.  Now an anchor on Fox Sports 1, it has the opportunity to hold a couple big events in New York City and three Fight Nights in upstate New York.  Also, there are other companies out there that would likely take advantage of the legalization of MMA in New York (i.e. Bellator, WSOF).  Will this new study persuade any New York legislator that cares to listen?

White talks social media and drops news at conference

January 7, 2013

Dana White was a featured speaker at the BusinessNext Conference in Las Vegas this morning.  White made two newsworthy announcements including a deal with Monster Headphones and the acquisition of LA Boxing.

White covered the full gamut of his business as it related to social media. As always, White was frank, honest and admitted half-jokingly that his “PR department hates him.”  This is due to the unplanned announcements such as this morning.

First, he announced a deal with Monster, the same company that produces Beats by Dre headphones.

Secondly, he announced that the UFC acquired LA Boxing and all LA Boxings will become UFC gyms.

UPDATE 01/08/13:  Here’s the whole talk from Monday morning. (h/t Bloody Elbow)

Video streaming by Ustream

The audience of mainly UFC fans were able to ask questions.  Two of the questions ended up being a request for tickets which White obliged.  Here are some highlights:

–  “The PR department hates me,” said White of his dissemination of information via twitter.
–  Someone asked about why White did not use Google Plus.  He stated he’d take a look.  Didn’t sound like he was a proponent of it.
–  White’s not a fan of Instagram.  Stated “[i]t’s just a bunch of pictures.”
–  He stated that he will not tweet ads.  Cites the Kardashians as the best example of what he hates.  He stated that his tweets are to communicate with fans.
–  He stated that the government investigated Zuffa to determine if it was a monopoly and the government said no monopoly.
–  He took a shot at Jon Jones and called him a “diva” for tweeting that he felt like a “piece of meat.”  This was with respect to the whole cancellation of UFC 151.
–  He railed on boxing stating that it has “no brand,” and that all promoters do is “take, take, take.”  In comparing the UFC, he stated that they reinvested into the brand.
–  White stated that the UFC is a lifestyle.  Its the new martial art.

LA Boxing

Payout Perspective:

Focusing on the two announcements from today’s conference, the Monster Headphones deal will mean we see fighters wearing headphones warming up in the back at events and on their walkout to the Octagon.  Headphones is a popular commodity among the younger demo (note: I am not young but I have a pair of Sol Republics, a brand made known by swimmer Michael Phelps). Beats by Dre made this market by providing headphones to athletes and you could not watch a sporting event without an athlete wearing them before or after a game.  The UFC will try to do the same.

The UFC gym expansion is another interesting investment.  With gyms in California, New York, Hawaii and in Sydney Australia, the purchase of LA Boxing will greatly expand the gym business.  In my opinion, I think the UFC will close certain LA Boxing locations but overall the gyms will have a bigger presence across the country.  It will be interesting if it one day sells gym franchises as a result of this acquisition.

UFC Gym heading to Long Island

October 23, 2012

The UFC is setting up shop in New York.  But it’s not what we would like as the UFC is expanding its gym franchise to Long Island.

Via UFC press release:

UFC GYM® Long Island will join a multitude of other businesses in an expansive free-standing building.  Its ‘Train Different’ approach offers an alternative to the traditional workout with a multitude of ways for the entire family to sweat, move and burn different through signature classes and specialized equipment. The club will feature an array of amenities to provide everything needed to ‘Train Different’, including a 32 ft. Octagon, BJJ Studio, Bag Room, top-of-the-line strength training and cardio machines, battling ropes, agility ladders and other functional training equipment for explosive workouts. In addition to expert Personal Trainers to help people of all fitness levels achieve undeniable results, the club space boasts an expansive 2,500 sq. ft. group fitness studio to house a full range of UFC GYM’s signature classes including Hot Hula, Women’s Self Defense, Performance Cycling, and more.

“Every gym that we open just gets better!  Fusing together what is so great about mixed martial arts, with state-of-the art fitness equipment and amenities, clearly makes UFC GYM the most unique training option in the world today,” said Adam Sedlack, senior vice president, UFC Gym.

“What makes our gyms so special is that we bring fitness and community together – when Dad is doing a boxing class, Mom can be taking High Octane Condition, all while the kids are improving their athletic performance,” added Sedlack.  “We have something for everyone, and cannot wait to show our ’Train Different’ approach to the residents of Long Island.

UFC GYM Long Island is set to open for workouts in spring, 2013. Residents and commuters will enjoy easy access at the club’s location in the heavily traveled intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Leonard Boulevard, and within walking distance of two Long Island Rail Road train stops and bus stops. In addition to the club’s training options, UFC GYM Long Island will offer full-service locker rooms, an Arm Bar Café, featuring a tasty assortment of healthy shakes and smoothies and a retail shop. To create a fitness destination for the whole family, the club also offers a UFC Kids GYM, a private kids training area, offering Youth Fitness Classes, Active Fitness Gaming, Youth Mixed Martial Arts and Ultimate Birthday Parties.

Payout Perspective:

The Long Island location will be the first on the East Coast as the UFC Gym’s have set up in California and Hawaii.  I’m sure that the UFC will try to peg the gym’s opening at about the same time that Sonnen-Jones goes on (around April 27th).  Thus, it can get a groundswell of recognition in the area and perhaps the fight will grab a few more people to sign up for the gym.  With the expansion into the New York area, it acknowledges that the UFC is still dedicated to conquer the Empire State notwithstanding what’s happening in the courtroom or in Albany.

UFC 135: Payout Perspective

September 25, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In the main event, Jon Jones defeated Quentin “Rampage” Jackson to retain the Light Heavyweight title.

Jones stops Rampage

Jon Jones handled Rampage Jackson to retain his Light Heavyweight title. Its becoming apparent that Jones’ length is his greatest attribute. Jackson looked motivated, in shape and had the correct game plan to deal with Jones. However, Jones was ready for Jackson and it was apparent that Jones could do whatever he wanted with Jackson. The 3rd round after the bell throw of Jackson and eventual choke served as notice that Jones is here to stay.

As for Jackson, it was weird for a loser of a bout to call out someone else. But, Rampage vs. Shogun Rua would help a UFC Japan card that has its share of skeptics.

Kos KOs Hughes

The fight was entertaining until the last few seconds of the first round when Koscheck poured it on and KO’d Hughes. For Hughes, the KO is the second of its kind as BJ Penn did the same to him last year. Its hard to say if Hughes will or should retire, but for a Hall of Famer to be knocked unconscious like that is not good for a legacy. For Koscheck, it was a nice return from December’s injury. The win should put him back into the welterweight title picture.

Attendance and Gate

Although not verified by the Colorado state athletic commission, Dana White announced the attendance at the Pepsi Center as 16,344 for a gate of $2 million. (h/t MMA Junkie)

Bonuses

MMA Junkie reports that the following fighters were awarded $75,000 each for their fights.

Fight of the Night – Jones vs. Jackson
KO of the Night – Koscheck
Submission of the Night – Nate Diaz
Diaz displayed his jiu jitsu proficiency in submitting Takanori Gomi. It was a textbook transition. Hopefully, in a push for an exciting fight, the UFC does not stray from its roots.

Promotion of the Fight

UFC Fight Night 25 featured a Jones-Rampage head to head debate. The same was done on ESPN. I have to say I am not a fan of these head to head debates. I know its supposed to draw heat but it seems forced.

More and more, UFC fighters are getting their chance on late night television. Jones and Rampage on Jimmy Kimmel to sell the fight.

It was a little weird to see the two sitting so comfortably close to each other and sharing their couch with Dr. Phil.

Press Conference

The Jones-Rampage press conference had its share of funny moments. The best being the picture of Rampage clowning Jon Jones’ “stare into the distance” when they both did the staredown at the initial press conference.

The drama of the alleged “spy” in Rampage’s camp brought some intrigue to the matchup. But, most people were interested in the matchup regardless of the “spy”.

Sponsorships

MMA Elite, Harley Davidson, MMA Authentics, Edge, Musclepharm, Xyience, Toyo Tires were all in the Octagon with Bud Light taking the center again. Video game Gears of War3 (for XBox 360) signage was also present in the Octagon. It also was the presenting sponsor for UFC 135. Noticeably a lot of different sponsors in the Octagon this time around.

Musclepharm – Not only did it announce its new partnership with the UFC earlier in the week, but its gym was featured during the UFC Countdown show as Rampage trained for the fight there. It also was the spot where Rampage discovered the “spy” from the Jones camp. Notwithstanding the implication that a MP exec was a spy, it was a good week of activation for MP. The MP gym was adorned with its memorable logo.

The US Marines maintained its Keys to Victory segment featuring Koscheck and Hughes.

FighterxFashion has a good rundown of the walk out wear from UFC 135 including Rampage “chains”. Just in time for Halloween…or your next street fight (j/k, I hope).

Interesting that Jon Jones did not have any special brand activation with any of his sponsors. If I missed it, let me know.

Odds and ends

– The high altitude coupled with the Heavyweight match-ups lead to two matches that slowed down considerably as the match progressed. Maybe some booking info to learn from in the future.

– Whenever Rashard Evans steps into the Octagon with a suit, he receives boos. It reminds me a little of Ric Flair. The pinstripes did add to the “heel” status he received last night. Notwithstanding, it was a little awkward for Evans after the stare-down with Jones since it looked like he wanted to leave but Rampage was still in the Octagon. It was like he was trapped a bit. It was a good spot but

– Don’t mean to talk about pro wrestling too much, but did Ben Rothwell come out to the Monday Night Raw theme?

– Did anyone notice Rampage’s corner-man whisper in his ear prior to his Rogan post-fight interview. It was like he reminded him to challenge Shogun in Japan.

UPDATE re PPV Buys

MMA Supremacy did an informal poll on the anticipated PPV buys for this pay per view. With Rampage, Jones, Hughes and Koscheck at the top of the card, many believed this to be between 500K-700K in buys with a smattering of people believing it to be 300-400K in buys. It will be interesting to see. Although Jones is the biggest rising star in the UFC, he has yet to become a PPV draw. The UFC hopes that this will change soon.

UFC Gym heading to Torrance, California

July 28, 2011

The UFC announced the opening of a UFC Gym in Torrance, California set to open in early 2012. This will be the fourth UFC gym in the state with the others in Concord, Rosemead and Corona, California.

Via UFC press release:

At over 40,000 square-feet, UFC Gym Torrance will feature all of the amenities seen in traditional fitness facilities, plus the cutting-edge training techniques that have helped the brand emerge as an undeniable force in the industry.  With MMA programming such as Muay Thai kickboxing, jiu jitsu, self-defense classes, and team-oriented Daily Ultimate Training, as well as one-of-a-kind offerings such as a 32-foot Octagon®, UFC Kid’s Gym Fitness, Octagon Training Disciplines, and High-Octane Conditioning, UFC Gym Torrance will help members of all ages realize results like never before.

In addition to the four California gyms, the UFC will open a BJ Penn-UFC gym in Hawaii in 2012. MMA Weekly reports that there are no planned partnerships between the newest UFC gym and UFC fighters.

Payout Perspective:

Its interesting that the UFC is opening another gym in relative close proximity to other UFC gyms. One would think that it would at least open one in Vegas (before opening one in Hawaii).  With the news of a BJ Penn gym, it was a little surprising that the UFC did not have a fighter tie-in with the Torrance gym. Regardless, with the expansion, one must assume that the UFC plan to enter the fitness industry is going well.

UFC Gym opens in Corona, Hawaii Next

May 16, 2011

MMA Weekly reports that the UFC and BJ Penn will partner to open a UFC Gym in Waikiki, Hawaii. The official announcement was made during the grand opening of the third UFC Gym in Corona, California.

Via MMA Weekly:

With Penn’s name attached to this new gym, one can only wonder if more fighters will follow his lead and partner up with the UFC and its gym brand around the country.

UFC vice president of community relations Reed Harris confirmed that Penn is only the beginning. In the coming years, the UFC and its gym brand plan to partner with other marquee fighters to open more gyms in several communities.

Penn indicated that the gym will have programs specifically for children. The initial plan is to have the gym in place by early to mid-2012.

The UFC and Penn have been working for a couple years to establish a gym affiliated with the former lightweight champ in Hawaii. An article from the Honolulu Star Advertiser states that the UFC was also working with Georges St. Pierre about establishing a UFC Gym in GSP’s native Montreal.

Payout Perspective:

The idea of UFC Gyms affiliated with its stars is a creative way to keep extending the UFC brand. With the names of fighters attached to the gyms, it could only help with name/brand awareness. Establishing a gym in Penn’s native state can only help with Hawaiian fans. Penn is very popular in Hawaii and one can only imagine the number of memberships the UFC could sell at a UFC/Penn Gym.

UFC opens third gym in Corona, California

October 25, 2010

Amidst the media buzz of UFC 121, the UFC announced that it would open a third gym, its second Southern California location, in the Inland Empire/Corona, California.

According to the UFC press release:

The Inland Empire will now have their chance to experience all that UFC Gym has to offer. Just weeks after the grand opening of the Rosemead location, New Evolution Ventures (NeV), and the UFC announced today that the third UFC Gym location is set to open in Corona, CA.

The third UFC Gym is expected to open in early 2011 and the location is currently selling memberships.

Payout Perspective:

It is amazing to see the rapid growth of the UFC brand into the fitness industry. The announcement of the third gym comes on the heels of the grand opening of its second gym in Rosemead, California. I am surprised that the UFC decided to open its third gym so close to each other and did not open a location in the Orange County or San Diego area.  The Rosemead gym is about an hour and a half away from the proposed Corona site.

UFC to open second gym in Los Angeles area

September 14, 2010

The UFC announced in a press release sent out Monday that it would be opening doors to its second UFC GYM this Saturday, Sept. 18th in Rosemead, CA.

Many UFC stars will be on hand for the grand opening Saturday including Chuck Liddell, B.J. Penn, Chael Sonnen, Jon Jones and UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste.

The first UFC GYM  opened January 23rd in Concord, California.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC gym brand continues to expand with its second gym, this time in the Los Angeles area. In a city with a wealth of health clubs, it will be interesting to see how the UFC GYM will fair. The gym will stand out from other health clubs as many will recognize the UFC brand. I would be interested to see the membership fees for UFC GYM and compare it to other health clubs in the area like 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and Equinox.

Another interesting issue will be whether the association with MMA will help or hurt membership. After looking at the UFC GYM web site,you can tell that the gym is more than just mixed martial arts classes. In fact, the web site informs potential members that it has regular amenities and it is not an MMA specific gym. But, will people be deterred when they see the  UFC brand and think it is just a place with punching bags and mats.

AKA Licensing Program

May 24, 2010

American Kickboxing Academy has announced that it will officially begin its licensing program at this weekend’s UFC Expo that coincides with UFC 114 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The American Kickboxing Academy® is going to present opportunities to license its federally registered trademark at the UFC® Fan Expo™ on May 28-29 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Several American Kickboxing Academy® team members will make appearances at AKA™’s booth, including undefeated heavyweight sensation Cain Velasquez, welterweight number one contender Josh Koscheck, and fan favorites Jon Fitch and Mike Swick. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase AKA™ apparel and collect autographs, as well as to win autographed items through contests. Clients interested in licensing opportunities will have the chance to discuss ways to partner with AKA™, including affiliated training facilities and product licensing.

Payout Perspective:

I can’t help but feel as though we’re finally starting to see a bit of a business evolution within the mixed martial arts industry. Some of these companies have realized that they have valuable properties with significant exploitable potential; and, as a result, they’re now moving to license or sell those properties to earn extra revenue. We saw it first with the UFC’s merchandising and collectibles initiatives – and many would argue that they took too long to do that – and now we’re seeing brands like Tapout and AKA explore more opportunities than what are just immediately in front of them.

High School Wrestling Participation Growing

February 2, 2010

MMAPayout.com has made references to the steady growth of martial arts facilities and participation in the United States over the last few years; a trend that many feel correlates with the rise of mixed martial arts and the UFC. We’re now seeing even more encouraging news out of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSH), which has released a series of surveys over the last few years that shows the number of amateurs wrestlers in the country is growing.

2006-2007: 257,266
2007-2008: 259,688
2008-2009: 267,378

Granted, this is in contrast to the decline in amateur wrestling that we’re seeing at the college level, but that is largely the result of Title IX striving for gender equality. Programs dominated by men, but without serious revenue generating potential – like wrestling – are being cut in order to the balance athletic scholarships provided for men and women.

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