UFC generated ‘record revenues’ in 2022 including ‘the best sponsorship year ever’
The UFC continues to generate record earnings for parent company Endeavor as financials were disclosed for the fourth quarter and full year in 2022.
Endeavor released the details on Tuesday during an earnings call, and the UFC is once again the leader of the public company. Overall, Endeavor-owned venues, including the UFC and Professional Bull Riders, generated $301.4 million in the fourth quarter, up nine percent from the same period in 2021.
For the year, the UFC helped drive sports property owned revenue to $1.3 billion, up $224.1 million from 2021 or 20 percent from last year.
“Both organizations recorded record revenue last year,” said Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel. “All 21 UFC live events have sold out, continuing a streak of 29 tickets since returning from the pandemic. The UFC announced its best sponsorship year for 2022, opening up new categories and inventory to reach a fan base that has grown by double digits in the U.S. in 2021.
“It also continues to be a leader in digital engagement. UFC social media accounts now have over 220 million followers. The number of TikTok followers alone is up 55% year-on-year.”
Not only has the UFC card sales streak continued into 2022, but the return to UFC Fight Night cards outside of UFC APEX has helped lead to even more live gate records, according to CFO Jason Lublin.
“The UFC has set 11 arena records for the highest-grossing tournaments, including four of the highest-grossing Fight Nights in the US and two of the highest-grossing Fight Nights in UFC history, both at London’s O2 Arena,” Lublin said.
In terms of sponsorship growth, Lublin detailed how the UFC added several new categories, such as UFC’s “official law firm,” which added new revenue to the company.
“The UFC also had the highest sponsorship sales in the history of the company,” Lublin said. “We have added several new sponsors to our roster such as V-Chain, New Amsterdam Vodka and Project Rock. We have also introduced new categories such as Official Commercial Truck, Official Law Firm, and Official UFC Drinks Partners.”
Looking ahead to 2023, the UFC is expected to host the same number of events overall, but the promotion will involve more travel, not more cards at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
APEX has been a mainstay for UFC Fight Night cards since the start of the global pandemic, but it looks like the promotion is starting to move more and more away from that, with plans to hit more arenas both in the US and overseas in 2023.
“In the UFC, we expect the same total number of events, but with more U.S. events outside of our APEX arena, more international events, and more high-profile events overall, all of which have a higher cost structure,” Lublin said. “That, in turn, affects margins.”
Endeavor also promoted the upcoming season Ultimate Fighterwhich will include the possible return of Conor McGregor before the end of 2023 with his expected fight against Michael Chandler.
Overall, the UFC continues to be a revenue driver for Endeavor, with stock prices currently trading at $22.31 per share, up on Tuesday following the release of the earnings report.