by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
The final attendance figures for last weekend’s K-1 Dynamite show have been released by the California State Athletic Commission. As is often the case with attendance figures, there are two groups of figures: The figures that are 100% official and verifiable, and the figures that are claimed by the promoters of the event that are not verifiable or fully documented.
Starting with the basics, the seating capacity of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is 92,000. The total number of tickets printed for K-1 Dynamite was 75,332. Out of the 75,332 tickets printed, the number of those tickets that were not sold, used, or given away was 18,975.
Verified Paid Attendance vs. Non-Verified Paid Attendance
The verified paid attendance number for K-1 Dynamite was only 3,674, which generated $203,090 in revenue. This includes just 94 of the tickets that were sold for $250, and just seven of the tickets that were sold for $1,000. The fact that these 3,674 tickets were sold to consumers is something that was tracked and verified by Ticketmaster.
FEG, the promoters of the event, paid $2,342,500 to buy 39,083 tickets to its own event. The fact that FEG bought that specific amount of tickets for that specific price is something that was tracked and verified by the California State Athletic Commission, which charged FEG the appropriate taxes for purchasing 39,083 tickets to its own event.
It is FEG’s claim that after they (FEG) purchased 39,083 tickets to the event for $2,342,500, FEG then turned around and sold exactly 39,083 tickets to consumers for $1,602,610. This is the part that is not independently verifiable.
In terms of the taxes that FEG has to pay the California State Athletic Commission, FEG only has to pay taxes on the amount of $2,342,500. The claim that FEG re-sold all 39,083 of those tickets for $1,602,610 is not something that affects the taxes that FEG owes in any way, so the figures cannot be independently verified by the California State Athletic Commission.
The fact that FEG did indeed purchase 39,083 tickets to its own event does not set any kind of paid attendance record, as “paid attendance” figures are created by paid ticket sales to actual fans who come to events. To use a college football analogy, if a game were held in a 150,000-seat stadium, and the host college purchased all 150,000 tickets without selling any of those tickets, and zero fans showed up to the game, the number of fans in attendance with paid tickets would be zero, not 150,000.
There is no way of knowing whether or not FEG actually did re-sell all 39,083 of the tickets that it bought for its own event. FEG might have sold those tickets to fans, or FEG might have given away many of those tickets to fans for free.
In the Japanese media, FEG has been claiming that the attendance was 54,000, and that has not been supported in any way by the numbers that have been released by the California State Athletic Commission.
In addition, FEG reported to the CSAC that it gave away 13,600 tickets as free “comp” tickets, but there is no documentation regarding what happened to those 13,600 tickets after they were given away. Furthermore, out of all the thousands of people who were documented passing through the turnstiles at the L.A. Coliseum on the night of the event, only six people passed through the turnstiles with tickets that were marked as free “comp” tickets. It would seem to be peculiar that 13,600 tickets would be given away and then less than 0.1 percent of those people would show up to the event.
While this would seem to call into question the veracity of FEG’s claims, the fact remains that there is no way to know for sure how many tickets were actually sold to fans for the K-1 Dynamite event. The unverified number is 42,757 (or 54,000 in the Japanese media), but the number of tickets that were verifiably sold is still 3,674.
The verified paid attendance record for a mixed martial arts event in the United States is still held by the Strikeforce event that was held in San Jose, California on March 10, 2006. The verified paid attendance for that event was 17,465.
The second highest verified paid attendance for an MMA event in the United States is held by UFC 68, which took place in Columbus, Ohio on March 3, 2007. The verified paid attendance for that event was 17,358.
Verified Total Attendance vs. Non-Verified Total Attendance
A somewhat more clear picture of the total attendance for the K-1 Dynamite event is gained because the California State Athletic Commission verified the actual number of people who got their tickets clicked at a turnstile and walked into the venue. That number was 18,340.
While it was possible to gain entry into the venue without getting a ticket clicked at a turnstile, those fans are by definition not officially counted. As reported by Sam Caplan, who writes for CBS Sportsline and Five Ounces of Pain, the California State Athletic Commission “had someone whose sole job it was on Saturday [June 2nd] to handle tracking the number of fans entering the Coliseum.”
So, as with the paid attendance figures, there is no way of definitively knowing the total number of fans in attendance, but the documented, verifiable number is 18,340. It would seem to be peculiar that there would be 18,340 fans who passed through ticket turnstiles and entered the venue if FEG did indeed sell over 39,000 tickets to fans as it claims.
The face value of the tickets that passed through the turnstiles was $1,529,530, but again, there is no way of knowing how much of that amount came from fans who actually bought tickets and how much of that amount came from tickets that FEG purchased itself and subsequently gave away to fans.
The verified total attendance record for a mixed martial arts event in the United States is still held by UFC 68, which took place in Columbus, Ohio on March 3, 2007. The verified total attendance for that event was 19,079.
The verified total attendance of 18,340 for the K-1 Dynamite event is now the second highest in U.S. MMA history. The event that previously had the second-highest verified total attendance for an MMA event in the U.S. was the March 2006 Strikeforce event in San Jose, California. The verified total attendance for that event was 18,265.