The Ultimate Fighting Championship and others have knocked down the walls in 44 of the 50 United States. Of the remaining six, New York stands high above the others, casting its shadow over the sports legalization.
The UFC on Thursday held a press conference in New York, combining its efforts with those of the historical Madison Square Garden to prompt legislators in the state to relent, and make mixed martial arts legal in the state.
“It’s time to bring the fastest growing sport in the world to New York and Madison Square Garden,” UFC president Dana White said. “We already know that New York is filled with UFC fans who want to see live UFC events in their home state. With the economic benefits that UFC would bring to New York, it’s time for UFC to do Madison Square Garden.”
“UFC and its passionate fans have a home here at Madison Square Garden, and we look forward to welcoming them as soon as the sport is regulated in New York. We have no doubt that UFC would be enormously popular at The Garden and a great addition to our lineup of world class sports and entertainment events,” added Scott O’Neil, president of Madison Square Garden Sports.
With most political issues, especially in these times of a depressed economy, money is a focal point. The UFC is not ignorant of that fact, and based much of its presentation on Thursday on pointing out the economic impact that it, along with other mixed martial arts promotions, would have once allowed to operate in New York.
“We’ve done similar economic studies in major cities such as Boston, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, and each showed the substantial positive impact hosting a UFC event has on the local economy,” company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said. “This study shows that by regulating MMA, New York can reap the economic benefits statewide.”
The study, compiled by HR&A Advisors, purports the UFC alone would stimulate roughly $16 million in economic activity in the state. That is based on the UFC’s announced intentions to operate one event at Madison Square Garden in New York City and another in Buffalo.
The study also found that other MMA operators would likely add another $6.7 million in economic stimulus to the state.
The study indicates that the UFC alone would generate gross ticket sales of $5.2 million at Madison Square Garden based on an attendance of 17,000, as well as $1.5 million in ticket sales at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo based on 16,000 in attendance.
Those are big numbers for any state, even one the size of New York, with economic woes continuing across the country and throughout the world.
“By bringing UFC events to New York, the state will see a positive financial impact,” White said. “The arenas will get to host major UFC events and local hotels, restaurants, and other businesses will attract new customers. They’ll look forward to the times we bring UFC to New York.”