Study shows $37 million regional impact of UFC 205

Monday, February 13, 2017

The UFC spent nearly a decade getting mixed martial arts regulated in New York, the last state or province in North American to legalize the sport. The argument that proved to be pivotal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was economic – when the UFC shows up, the state and its citizens make money.

The league’s return to New York after nearly 20 years took place at UFC 205, and was projected to generate $32 million in revenue to the state. However, the Madison Square Garden event alone took in a $17.7 million live gate, setting a UFC and MSG record. And a study by Applied Analysis, of Las Vegas concluded that the overall economic impact on the surrounding area was $37.4 million.

“We said it from the very beginning, we knew New York was going to be huge,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “The numbers don’t lie. A lot of people came out to support us and we’re going to keep doing this up and down the state.”

Gov. Cuomo was equally delighted.

“Mixed martial arts competitions have already proven to be major economic drivers across New York, and the jobs and revenue generated by (the MSG) event illustrate the enormous impact of this growing industry in our state,” he said.

“I look forward to seeing the further growth of this sport continue to foster economic activity, help create jobs, and further establish New York as an international entertainment hub.”

Kenneth Lovett has the story for the NY Daily News.


Because the Garden would have otherwise been dark that night, the UFC event supported an estimated 300 jobs that generated $18.3 million in salary and wages and brought in $1.6 million in taxes for the state.

As part of its lobbying effort, UFC officials promised to hold at least four events a year in the state for the first three years. The league is set to meet the first-year goal in its first six months.

UFC on Saturday held its first event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which generated a $2.7 million live gate that made it the highest grossing sporting event in the history of that arena, officials said.

Another event was held recently in Albany, and one is scheduled for Buffalo on April 8.

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The opposition to the bill legalizing mixed martial arts could charitably be described as “bonkers.” That trend has not abated. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (Democrat) who was against the bill because among other reasons there are no gloves in MMA, was unswayed by the economic arguments.

“We could probably sell out a public lynching,” said Glick. “But we don’t do that because it’s wrong and encourages violence.”