In two days, we will be seeing a lot of fighting, loads of twitter trash talk and media frenzy at UFC 209, happening this weekend, March 4rth, 2017 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After a slow start, UFC is aiming to get big numbers from this event which is billed as a hardcore fan’s fight card. The surprising part is that ticket sales have been slow so far and UFC would be lucky to finish it with 250,000-350,000 buys.
Gossip behind the main event and the co-main event is making the most of the sales according to experts. As the finale is a rematch between welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) and Stephen Thompson (13-1-1), two high profile title fighters and the highly anticipated grudge fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0-0) and Tony Ferguson (23-3-0) for the interim 155-Pound title in the co-main event. This suggests that UFC will have a box office success, live and on Pay-per-view. But that is SO NOT the case.
Ticket tracking site, ticketIQ.com has released statistics on the fight and ticket sales and the current average list price for UFC 209 tickets on it is $200, making it the cheapest PPV event tracked since UFC 186 in Montreal. 48 hours left for the fight and according to this site, they still have around 1500 tickets left. Here are the stats:
“Now just two days out from UFC 209, a significant amount of tickets are still available at Ticketmaster as well as over 1,500 tickets listed on the resale market. Resale market prices are trending below Face Price, with cheapest seats available for $60 (25% below the cheapest face price of $80). This value continues into most seating areas, including Lower Level center seating with $600 Face Value selling for ~$400. The current average list price per ticket is $200, making UFC 209 the cheapest UFC PPV event TicketIQ has tracked since UFC 186 (4/25/15 at Centre Bell with an average price of $165).”
UFC has a cutthroat fan following and sales being low are making news at the moment. If this doesn’t go well, they will have to rethink their marketing strategy altogether. Experts suggest that the root cause of this downfall in sales is the exhaustion of fans by the number of events without a real high-profile fight, not the make-believe-excitement, but some actual attention seeking fight such as McGregor VS. Diaz on UFC 196 last year etc. Fans miss Ronda and McGregor and UFC has yet to decide their fights between the gossips of McGregor VS. Mayweather and Ronda going back to Hollywood to shoot an episode of Blacklist.
The exciting part about fight number one: Woodley’s claims of racism in sports and supposed entitlement in calling out opponents.
The exciting part about fight number two: The grudge between undefeated Nurmagomedov and Ferguson who hates him but wants to teach him a lesson.
According to MMA journalist Tom Niston,
“The advertising executives at the UFC could have seen this as an opportunity to build this fight as one of the biggest showdowns in lightweight history, which it is, and they should have made sure it was one where the interim champ would fight McGregor next.”
Marketing or not, UFC need to go through the statistics and see where they fall short and how the gossip behind their advertising can be toned down.