Not quite yet anway... Seeing as this just came up. I thought it appropriate to re-post an article I did over here, where it will get more appreciative eyeballs...
As the new season of TUF is underway, I find myself looking back at the humble beginnings and the incredible growth the sport of MMA has seen since it's humble inception. As enthusiasts, it is easy to get caught up in the billowing clouds of explosive expansion and lose perspective on just how far MMA has yet to go to be considered a "major" sport not only in the U.S. but worldwide. To shed some light on just how David MMA is to the Goliath of other sports, let’s show a little graphic:
Not bad right? The UFC is narrowly in third for 2006 with $222million earned just from PPV. That leaves out merchandising, the Spike deal, etc… So what’s up with me calling MMA the David to other sport’s Goliath? Well… my graph labels lie a bit. Let’s show you the actual deal here:
Look close now. You got it? That’s right, folks, both the NY Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys ALONE earned more in revenue than MMA’s poster child did in PPV revenue for 2006. As for NASCAR, one race team by its lil’ ol’ country self was darn close. To give you an idea of the scale of it, NASCAR’s eight year TV licensing with ABC, ESPN, Fox and TNT netted a cool $4.48 billion. I’m pretty sure the entire Spike TV network isn’t worth that (Spike is part of Viacom’s large family of networks and movie production, which in total reported quarterly earnings over $3 billion recently).
Those Yankees? Well they spent $1.3 billion building a new stadium and have a team payroll that cost more than that UFC PPV earning mark. Heck, the Yankees have a whole television network just for themselves. Do you think there will ever be a Forrest Griffin network? Heck some fighters don’t even have web sites!
Those Cowboys in kind built a new stadium for more than $1 billion too. I’m not even going to fathom a calculation at earnings for all of the NFL or MLB (who both, by the way have their own complete television networks as well of course).
I suppose I could ramble on plenty more but I think I would be beating a dead hor… no more like pony. I love MMA, and I hope it continues to grow, but I hold no illusions that there will come a day when it really can rank up there on equal ground with the behemoths of sport. I didn’t even mention the English Premier League…