The UFC’s first event in New York last November generated $37.4 million in economic activity, according to a study by Applied Analysis released Monday that was commissioned by by the mixed martial arts promotion.
UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12, 2016, which set a live gate record for the arena as well as reached new heights in social media and pay-per-view buys for the promotion, also created $18.3 million in salaries and wages for New York employees, the analysis said. An estimated 300 jobs were supported by the event. New York State also earned nearly $1.6 million in taxes generated by ticket sales, event merchanside sales and pay-per-views for the event.
“Mixed martial arts competitions have already proven to be major economic drivers across New York, and the jobs and revenue generated by this event illustrates the enormous impact of this growing industry in our state,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing the further growth of this sport continue to foster economic activity, help create jobs, and further establish New York as an international entertainment hub.”
UFC 205 included three title fights and was headlined by Conor McGregor, the sport’s biggest star and pay-per-view draw, winning the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez. It generated a live gate of $17.7 million at MSG, the biggest ever for the UFC and the largest for a sporting event at the arena.
Attendance was 20,427 for fight night and 15,480 for the weigh-ins the day before, both UFC records.
“We said it from the very beginning, we knew New York was going to be huge,” UFC president Dana White said. “It was a dream come true for the athletes, for the fans, and for our company to host a UFC event in ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena.’ The numbers don’t lie, a lot of people came out to support us and we’re going to keep doing this up and down the state.”
UFC hosted its third card in the state this past Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. That sold-out event — UFC 208 — drew 15,628 fans and a gate of $2,275,105, making it the highest grossing sporting event since the venue opened in 2012.
The UFC also hosted a fight night last December in Albany and will bring a pay-per-view UFC 210 to Buffalo this April. One of the UFC’s promises to the state during its lobbying over the past two years was to bring four fights a year to New York in each of the first three years of legalization. New York became the last state to legalize MMA in March 2016, overturning a ban enacted in 1997.