The long-awaited return of Jon Jones paid out handsomely for the UFC.
Together with a sold-out audience at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the new heavyweight champion helped UFC 285 become the promotion’s greatest selling card of the previous year. Although the total pay-per-view sales were not disclosed, Endeavor, the organization that owns the UFC, hailed UFC 285 as a record-breaking card for the previous year in addition to other high marks attained when presenting the first-quarter results for 2023.
During a Tuesday investor call, Endeavor CFO Jason Lublin stated, “At UFC, we continued to deliver more record-breaking events across the globe.” “UFC 285 in Las Vegas was the UFC’s highest-grossing commercial pay-per-view event over the course of the previous 12 months, while UFC 284 in Perth was Australia’s highest-grossing event of any sort.
Additionally, UFC 286 in London set a record for ticket sales at the O2 Arena.
Since returning to venues amid the global epidemic, the UFC has kept up a remarkable series of sold-out events.
The only two live events that the UFC hasn’t sold out since 2021 are UFC 283, which took place in Brazil, and the most recent UFC event in Kansas City, which featured Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen as its main event. For the previous two years, the UFC has sold out every other card with a crowd in attendance aside from those two events.
Results for the first quarter showed that Endeavor’s owned sports brands, which are led by the UFC, generated $353.3 million in revenue, an increase of $56.6 million or 19% from the same period in 2022. The increase was credited to media rights payments, sponsorships, event-related income, and pay-per-views; the first quarter’s addition of a pay-per-view card also contributed significantly to the revenue.
Contrary to tradition, the UFC held two pay-per-view events in March, including the record-breaking UFC 285 event and UFC 286, which was held in London.
Early plans were for two pay-per-view events in another month this summer, with UFC 290 set for July 8 and a second pay-per-view tentatively scheduled for July 29. Whether or not those plans come to fruition remains to be seen.
Currently, the UFC is still included in Endeavor’s overall owned sports property category, but that is anticipated to change soon after the promotion merges with WWE to form a new publicly traded firm.
Although Endeavor executives claimed that regulatory hurdles still need to be resolved before any agreements can be consummated, plans are still in motion for the new UFC-WWE united entity to go public later this year. Although Endeavor continues to utilize the potential ticker symbol TKO for the combined firm, a new name is anticipated to be revealed in the upcoming months once the merger is complete.
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