UFC Looks To Reverse Declining Gate In Toronto, Eyes Halifax For '14 Or '15 Card
UFC 165 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sept. 21 featuring Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson "needs a big victory at the box office," according to Morgan Campbell of the TORONTO STAR. The gate for the three UFC events in Toronto has declined from C$12M for the first event to C$3.9M for the second, with last year's event drawing C$1.9M. UFC Canada Operations Dir Tom Wright said UFC is "going to do our best to sell out this event … (and) whatever we end up with over here at the Air Canada Centre will be more than they get for a typical Toronto Maple Leafs game, so we're quite happy." Wright noted there were four Canadian UFC fighters on the card and "there'll be some more local talent for sure." Campbell added the "economic stakes are high here and not just for the UFC." When UFC "sold out the Rogers Centre" in April '11 for UFC 129, that event generated an estimated C$40M in "economic activity for downtown merchants" (THESTAR.com, 7/9). Meanwhile, Wright said that UFC will "make its debut in Halifax at some point in either" '14 or '15. Wright said, "I think the chances of the UFC going to Halifax are extremely good." He added, "I've had conversations with the people that run the Metro Convention Centre there. I've had discussions with all sorts of different people politically down in Halifax. I think Atlantic Canada is a great spot for our sport" (Halifax CHRONICLE HERALD, 7/10). Wright said in addition to Halifax there are "other cities across the country including places like Quebec City and Saskatoon ... Edmonton has been calling for us to take our athletes there. And there's a whole bunch of cities that want us to return" (CP, 7/9).