The news came out yesterday evening that the UFC has already sold more than 42,000 tickets for UFC 129 in Toronto. Their Ontario debut at the Rogers Centre is now assured of being the biggest live crowd in UFC history. The event will feature Georges St Pierre defending his welterweight crown against Jake Shields and GSP's fellow Canadian Mark Hominick challenging Jose Aldo for the UFC's featherweight crown.
Zach Arnold thinks this is big big doings:
You don't think selling 40,000+ tickets, scalpers or not, for the April 30th show at the Sky Dome (Rogers Centre) is big? Of course it is. Not that this comes as any surprise to usgiven that I predicted 10 months ago that a show with GSP would easily outdraw the Blue Jays (and it has).
There was great consternation that the Sky Dome was too big of a facility for the UFC to run their debut in Ontario and that they should run the Air Canada Centre. I didn't buy into that idea because Ontario, along with other major Canadian cities, have been huge PPV-buying markets for the UFC. Naturally, UFC was going to draw big for their first foray into Toronto. I will say that it is quite astonishing just how fast tickets are selling, which is a good thing.
UFC must be hoping and praying for Georges St. Pierre to beat Jake Shields. If the fight is ugly but GSP wins, that's one thing. If Shields wins and it's exciting, that's a crapshoot. If Shields wins and it's ugly, then I don't know how hot Toronto would stay as a live-event market. Ultimately, the goal is for St. Pierre to win and look strong so that the ‘dream match-up' between him and Anderson Silva happens in Toronto.
Sports Net Canada has more:
It's safe to say the record of 23,152, set by UFC 124 at The Bell Centre in Montreal, has been easily smashed.
In speaking with the organization, initial ticket sales through "Fight Club" members have pushed the original prediction of 42,000 seats, to a grander number in the mid-forty thousands.
While many, including yours truly, would like to see them push towards 50,000 tickets or more, the final number is expected to be around 45,000.
Keep in mind that due to the heavy scalping of UFC tickets it's entirely possible that there will be empty seats come April, but so far, so good.
The Toronto Sun reported on the already heavy scalping:
Some of those who managed to buy tickets Thursday were quick to put them up for resale. One seller offered eight side-by-side seats in Section 115 -- face value of $150 each -- for $4,500 or $562.50 each.
Another on Craigslist offered two $50 tickets for $175 each "or highest bidder.
Tickets also appeared on Stubhub, a ticket reseller.