MMA and Boxing Events Suffer from Weak Attendance in Las Vegas

Fronted by Luke Thomas.

From Loretta Hunt of Sherdog:

“A Night of Combat 2,” a collaborative event led by Superfights MMA promoter Skip Kelp in conjunction with Kim Couture’s KC Concepts, sold 1,063 of the 8,911 tickets available at the Thomas & Mack Center for a gate of $32,405. Tickets were set in a very reasonably priced $15-50 range, and comped tickets brought attendance up to 1,735 spectators.

Xtreme Couture standouts Jay Hieron, Mike Pyle, and John Alessio topped an 18-fighter bill that paid $160,500 in fighter purses.

Gary Shaw’s Antonio Tarver-Chad Dawson light heavyweight title fight drew 911 attendees to 1,770-seat Pearl inside The Palms for what was anticipated to be a sellout. Tickets ranged from $150-750 for a total gate of $329,650.

Tarver was compensated $1 million for his unanimous decision loss, while Dawson earned $800,000 for the live Showtime-aired event. No other fighter on the bill made above $5,000, though the promotion paid out the maximum $50,000 broadcast tax, signifying it took in at least $3 million from Showtime.

It's no secret that the Las Vegas area has been hard hit by falling home prices and a decline in tourism dollars due to a slowing economy.  The weak attendance for these two events may be a sign that fans are becoming more selective in their use of lessening disposable income.  Even the UFC is experiencing some difficulty:

Las Vegas’ perennial winner, the UFC, also seems to be affected by a lagging economy. A high-profile bout between UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture and former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 on Nov. 15 is selling at a more moderate pace than expected, with 8,000 tickets accounted for so far.

It seems MMA promoters big and small continue to fight to find, keep and expand their audience.

The UFC really pushed the envelope in regards to ticket prices for UFC 91.  While Lesnar vs. Couture is a blockbuster main event, I've been skeptical about the UFC's pricing power - effect of price increase on demand for given product - at this point in time.  It's extremely difficult to raise prices on a public that's reeling from a credit induced economic slowdown.

You really can't draw much of a conclusion about the demand for MMA and other similar sports by looking at two events that took place in the same metropolitan area.  However, it's something for promoters to take note of.  Strategies may need to be modified from maximizing revenue through lofty prices to simply maintaining solid demand.  Even the fastest growing industries are vulnerable to broad-based financial problems.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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