Professional sports are about dollars and cents. They are entertainment. All professional sports become more like professional wrestling with each passing year. The winners may not be predetermined. But the manipulation of the integrity of the game for entertainment purposes has been the norm and becomes more the norm in every major professional sports league in America each season.
The NFL is top dog in this regard. They turn everything into an event. Football season now never ends because there is not football season, just a never ending series of staged events. Think those controversial referee calls are an accident?
Right beside the NFL, competing for title of New America’s Past Time is the sport of mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion in particular.
Unlike all the other national sports leagues, the UFC has no offseason. And more importantly, they have such a grip on their always growing fan base to charge money to watch their shows in addition to having multiple free shows per month on FOX and Fox Sports 1. Not to mention UFC’s exclusive apparel sponsorship deal with Reebok.
Another thing that separated UFC and MMA as a sport from the others was that every other sports league has two franchises in New York City (or its boroughs) and three of the four major leagues have their headquarters in Manhattan. MMA on the other hand was banned/illegal in New York State.
Doesn’t that just read as weird? MMA banned in New York state in the year 2016. One of the most popular sports in the world, banned from the biggest media market in the world. How is that possible?
How much bigger would the UFC be if it had been holding events in Madison Square Garden for the last twenty years? They have filled the Rogers Centre in Toronto, no reason to think a show at Giants Stadium is out of the question in the medium term future.
MMA becoming legal in New York is the sports story of the year thus far and is on the shortlist for sports stories of the decade. Why? Dollars and cents.
The UFC is worth a estimated at $2 billion right now and they are just now going to start running events live in the biggest media market in the world. Running shows from New York changes things for the bigger. That’s just the way it is and this is coming from a life long Chicagoan. The amount of monetary capital in New York is vast to say the least. Five years down the line, this story will be looked back upon as a truly historic moment in the world of sports.
The UFC will not just get bigger Bellator MMA, World Series of Fighting, and local independent mix martial arts promotions will all flourish in a densely populated, highly affluent state. The ripple effect on the economics of mixed martial arts will be felt far and wide. The first event UFC holds at Madison Square Garden will demonstrate that.
The other story of the decade candidate going on right now is the Golden State Warriors and their quest to tie and/or surpass the 72 win 10 loss regular season NBA record held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. That remarkable feet will not have nearly the economic/business impact for the NBA and the sport of basketball as mma becoming legal in New York.
Mixed martial arts becoming legal in New York is a billion dollar economic news story as opposed to an event or accomplishment that is only a big deal within the industrial sports news and opinion complex. It crosses the barrier and moves the needle. It is the biggest sports story of 2016