UFC Gets Money

By MXL on 8/02/2009 11:16:00 AM

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Even in the midst of a recession, The Ultimate Fighting Championship is a cash cow.

Here's a snippet of the CNBC piece:

The privately-held UFC says its revenues for 2008 were $275 million, up 37 percent from two years earlier. And the league signed its first Fortune 500 sponsors. In 2008, Bud Light became the official beer of the brand and Harley Davidson rides the league's exploding popularity.

It says a lot about the growth of a brand that was once near extinction.

"This was something that wasn't allowed on pay-per-view, you know, a couple of years before," says UFC President Dana White. "Porn is on pay-per-view, okay? You can watch porn on pay-per-view. The UFC wasn't allowed on pay-per-view. That's how bad it was."

In 2008, pay per view events generated more than five million buys, beating the demand for boxing and wrestling.

Events typically sell out and remain a hot commodity. Seats to the marquee UFC 100, in July 2009, went in a matter of minutes and ranged from $500 to $40,000 apiece in the secondary market. Evidence to Lorenzo Fertitta that the UFC is weathering the economic downturn pretty well.

"We are up year over year in every category. Revenue, profit, pay per view, live gate, international TV sales, sponsorships, everywhere," said UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta. "The question is without our recession, where would our business be?"

I can testify to how much a hot commodity UFC 100 tickets were. I wanted to go, but even seats up in the nosebleeds were going for $500 a pop. We had to settle for the closed-circuit screening right behind the venue at the Mandalay Bay Beach, and even those tickets went for a cool $50.

Like Fertitta, I, too, wonder how much UFC'd be earning if not for the recession...

Catch the whole story here.

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