Estimating attendance for the Ultimate Fighting Championship: A demand theory approach

Scott Tainsky, Steven Salaga, Carla A. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-224
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Management and Marketing
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Combat sports
  • Demand
  • Individual sports
  • MMA
  • Mixed martial arts
  • Time series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Marketing


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