Much has been made of the surprisingly modest ticket sales for UFC 73 in Sacramentio this past weekend. And why not? It’s California, the hotbed of North American MMA. It’s the UFC, the worldwide leader of MMA organizations. And it’s stars like Tito Ortiz. Here’s the problem: oversaturation. The reason I don’t buy into claims that “the product is wearing thin” is because its not the most likely explanation.
How many shows, from local cage fights to the UFC, do you think take place in your average metropolitan California town? My guess is a lot more than your average city. Simply put, there are a lot of mixed martial events in the state (especially over the course of the summer) and it’s too expensive to go to every one.
Worse, the big ticket shows like Strikeforce, Elite XC and the UFC are just that: a big ticket. You can be a MMA fanatic by going to local shows to your heart’s contet, but the big shows? They’re too much money. It’s either one or the other.
The local Californian market is likely a little flooded. Choosy fans – namely, fans with a lot of options – are very discriminating because they want and need to be.
California is a big state, but news articles have routinely demonstrated how fans of the UFC are prone to travel great distances. Big shows in California are usually only a few hours apart.
I don’t believe the UFC 73 show was really that bad or that the UFC product is going stale. There are improvements that can be made to the UFC product or the fights themselves, but that’s not the main cause.
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