SBD/September 21, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Tickets Still Available For UFC 152 In Toronto; Is The MMA Promotion Hitting A Wall?

UFC 152 marks the MMA promotion's second trip to Toronto in as many years
Toronto's Air Canada Centre is hosting UFC 152 Saturday night, but UFC Canada Dir of Operations Tom Wright noted tickets are "still available" to the event, something UFC execs "rarely have to say two days before a major event," according to Morgan Campbell of the TORONTO STAR. When UFC first came to Toronto in '11, the company “sold out the 55,000-seat Rogers Centre in minutes.” This time, a venue "less than half the size of the Rogers Centre remains unfilled even with one of the sport’s crossover stars, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, headlining the main event.” Wright “acknowledges relatively tepid ticket sales” but said that the "UFC brand is at least as strong as it was last spring.” Wright: “We’ll get through this. It’s not the first bump in the road we’ve faced." Campbell notes UFC’s “rapid expansion includes numbers difficult to ignore.” The company in '08 “hosted 12 pay-per-view events, purchased by an average of 527,000 households.” By last year, the number of PPVs “had risen to 16, while the average number of purchases dipped to just under 422,000.” So far this year, UFC has “averaged 427,000 purchases for each of its nine pay-per-view broadcasts” (TORONTO STAR, 9/21). In Toronto, Steve Simmons writes having a UFC event not sell out did not appear "possible eight months ago." Simmons: "UFC, not just in Toronto, but all over North America, has hit a wall of sorts. It is no longer the next big thing. It is more just another thing.” The company “grew too much, too fast, faced too many obstacles.” Meanwhile, UFC 152 is the "seventh consecutive fight card in which a main card fight had to be changed, cancelled or re-introduced because of injury” (TORONTO SUN, 9/21).
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