Rousey not proving to be a big ticket seller...yet
With tickets having gone on sale the week before Christmas, less than 5,000 tickets have been sold for the Feb. 23 date and the ticket gross is in the $600,000 range. That's slightly less tickets, and slightly more dollars, than the company's previous major event in the market, the Aug. 4 FOX show, headlined by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Brandon Vera, at the same point in time.
It's slower early sales than most major UFC pay-per-view shows. There have been several Las Vegas shows that sold at a similar rate early, but that's a unique market because it's run so frequently, and casinos will buy tickets. Every UFC pay-per-view show, no matter what the first week advance is, will do in the $2 million range minimum, and the arena will be nearly full the night of the show.
For UFC pay-per-view main events, come the day of the show, there is always going to be a big crowd, whether sales start moving as the show gets closer, they discount tickets late, or, at times they give tickets away late. But it is a sign that Rousey's media fame hasn't yet translated into people beating down the doors to buy tickets.
Rousey headlined two shows last year for Strikeforce, drawing 5,500 in Columbus, Ohio for her fight with Miesha Tate where she first won the title on a show that really catapulted her stardom. She drew 3,502 in San Diego for her fight with Sarah Kaufman on a show with a weak undercard, but one that did Strikeforce's best ratings of the year. Those were the first- and third-largest crowds of the five events Strikeforce produced in 2012.
The feeling is also that this show will generate more mainstream media interest the week of the show than all but the biggest events of the year. Rousey is expected to be everywhere, including places that usually don't promoter or cover UFC events. There is also the belief Carmouche will get far more media coverage and attention than most unknown fighters, because she is a former Marine who served in the Persian Gulf war and is the first openly gay fighter in UFC history.
The hope is that would translate into ticket sales, and more importantly, pay-per-view buys. Pay-per-view is usually a late impulse buy and late hype is very important. Attending live shows more often is something people plan out farther in advance. But media hype for an event doesn't guarantee success.