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New York Welcomes UFC With Open Arms: What Does That Mean For Las Vegas?

New York Welcomes UFC With Open Arms: What Does That Mean For Las Vegas?

UFC’s first major event in the state of New York, UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden Co (NYSE: MSG)’s flagship arena, broke a number of records.

Breaking Records And Taking Names

The event’s $17.7 million gate was a new record for both UFC and Madison Square Garden. The event had the highest attendance (20,427) of any U.S. UFC event in history, and UFC 205 delivered the best U.S. retail numbers in UFC history as well.

While Madison Square Garden investors are reaping the rewards of the UFC’s arrival, Las Vegas may be on the losing end. Four of UFC’s last 10 pay-per-view events took place in Las Vegas. Now that Madison Square Garden is an option, it’s likely that the UFC’s future New York events could come at Las Vegas’ expense.

UFC’s biggest events typically draw between 10,000 and 20,000 fans, which is not much compared to other major sporting events.

Leavin' La Vida Loca In Las Vegas

However, along with the decline in boxing’s popularity, Vegas may now be losing the battle with New York for MMA as well.

Big events, the “big fight” atmosphere and big spenders are critical for Las Vegas casino operators such as MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) and Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ: WYNN).

UFC 205 superstar headliner Conor McGregor has already asked never to fight in Nevada again after receiving a $150,000 fine from the state’s athletic commission for throwing bottles during a press conference.

While UFC-related revenue likely doesn’t move the needle much for casino stocks, the companies clearly take it seriously. The Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas, which represents hotel workers, actively lobbied against MMA legalization in New York.

Image Credit: By Andrius Petrucenia on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted-In: Conor McGregor Las VegasNews Sports Events Movers Trading Ideas General Best of Benzinga


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