Gambling and sports have gone hand-in-hand for a long time, especially with regard to combat sports, and with the United States lifting the federal ban on sports betting last year and sports betting increasing globally, the UFC is now making a wager of their own that betting on their product is only going to get bigger.
On Thursday, it was announced that the UFC is set to debut UFC Event Centre, its first live-betting product. Per Bloomberg, UFC Event Centre will use official data from UFC as well as logos, photos, and fighter bios, to create a variety of gambling options for sportsbooks to use in exchange for a licensing fee and a share of gross gaming yield. All in all, UFC Event Centre is planning to feature over 50 betting opportunities per bout, including upwards of 20 new types of wagers not previously available. Those new wagers will include things like number of takedown attempts, total strikes landed, and the amount of time a fight spends on the mat.
Live-betting is a rapidly growing feature of the sports gambling world but currently, 92% of UFC wagering is done before the fight (per IMG Arena, the platform partnering with the UFC to launch UFC Event Centre). With this move, the UFC is looking to increase their fan engagement by expanding the avenues that many fans already enjoy and engaging directly with their consumers. The Venn diagram of the demographics of MMA fans and sports bettors is practically one circle and, per Dana White in a statement to ESPN, the UFC is hoping to grow its fanbase and provide them an even better experience engaging with the sport.
“The UFC Event Centre and its official data feed will be a game changer for how UFC fans engage with our events through sportsbooks and gaming operators,” White said. “We have the most passionate, die-hard fans of any sport, and they’re going to love the option to place bets live during a fight. Betting operators are also going to love this product because, unlike other sports, UFC has no off season. The action will be non-stop for fans and sportsbook operators.”
In the end, Lawrence Epstein, UFC’s chief operating officer says, it’s all about raising the quality of the fan experience. People tune into the UFC for excitement and there are few things more exciting than feeling like you are actually invested in the outcome of a sporting event.
“It’s fun to go to a Vegas sportsbook at 11 o’clock at night and watch everybody go crazy over the University of Hawaii game, which no one would care about but for the fact that it’s the only college-football game left,” Epstein told Bloomberg. “We’re for anything that increases fan engagement.”
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. @WonderboyMMA this was just my humble opinion. If you have a difference of opinion I respect that and don’t want to offend you. I would be honored to open the cage door for your fight
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) October 10, 2019
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Fact is beating Islam gets me absolutely nowhere. My next fight will be against a top 5 fighter. I understand you trying to push your team mate but that is a backwards step in rankings and competition.
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This was inevitable. Think of how many different props you can get on a regular season NBA game. This was only a matter of time and, for the gambling inclined, might end up being pretty cool.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.
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