SBD/Issue 238/Events & Attractions

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  • UFC's Massachusetts Debut Expected To Break Box-Office Records

    Dana White Expects UFC
    Will Sell Out TD Garden

    The UFC will make its Massachusetts debut Saturday at TD Garden as "one of the highest-grossing events ever" at the arena, according to a front-page piece by Bob Hohler of the BOSTON GLOBE. With ticket prices ranging from $75-600, UFC 118 is expected to generate nearly $4M "in ticket sales and pump" an additional $6M into the local economy. Industry analysts indicated that "no single indoor sports event in Boston history has generated a greater financial boon for the state." The UFC, in addition to "possibly selling out the Garden (average ticket price: $244), expects to draw as many as 30,000 to a Fan Expo Friday and Saturday at the Hynes Convention Center." The state of Massachusetts will receive 5% of the "gross ticket sales plus $75,000 of the broadcast revenues." Massachusetts Department of Public Safety Deputy General Counsel Todd Grossman said, "It's going to be the biggest fight event in Massachusetts history." With as many "as 1 million customers also projected to spend $45 each for a pay-per-view broadcast of the event, the UFC has gone from banned-in-Boston to striking it rich in the Bay State." Hohler notes the "blockbuster weekend promises to generously reward the Vegas-based UFC for spending two years and nearly $225,000 lobbying" state officials to sanction MMA (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/25). In Boston, Dan Duggan notes tickets to Saturday's event went on sale June 25 and "as of last weekend about 11,000 tickets had been sold." TD Garden's capacity for UFC 118 will be 15,500. UFC President Dana White said, "I was shocked that we didn’t sell out. Everybody is telling me that things are rough back there." But despite the "relatively slow sales, White expects a packed house." He said, "We think it’s going to sell out. ... But when we get down to a thousand, we consider that a sell out. We’ll do that from walkup (sales)" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/25).

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