Title: Estimating attendance for the Ultimate Fighting Championship: a demand theory approach

Authors: Scott Tainsky; Steven Salaga; Carla A. Santos

Addresses: Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois, 104 Huff Hall, MC-584, 1206 South Fourth Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA. ' Department of Sport Management, University of Michigan, 1402 Washington Heights, OBL 2166, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. ' Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois, 104 Huff Hall, MC-584, 1206 South Fourth Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA

Abstract: Mixed martial arts emerged as a major player in the sports industry during the 2000s, with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) growing into the sport's foremost promotion. Critical to the promotion's management is understanding fan consumption choices. Using economic demand theory, we draw on the spectator motivation and team sports demand literatures to provide an empirical analysis of what drives demand for mixed martial arts events. Our regression models show that economic and scheduling considerations explain the variation in UFC attendance. The popular notion that The Ultimate Fighter reality series served as the impetus for the UFC's growth is unsupported by time series analysis and numerous independent variables in our model.

Keywords: combat sports; individual sports; mixed martial arts; MMA; demand theory; time series; Ultimate Fighting Championship; economic demand; spectator motivation; team sports demand.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2012.047130

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2012 Vol.11 No.3/4, pp.206 - 224

Available online: 28 May 2012 *

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