Determinants of Pay-Per-View Broadcast Viewership in Sports: The Case of the Ultimate Fighting Championship

in Journal of Sport Management

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Scott TainskyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Steven SalagaFlorida Institute of Technology

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Carla Almeida SantosUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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The scholarship on the economics of individual sports is scant relative to that of team sports. This study advances sport management scholarship, particularly sport economics, by using consumer-theory modeling to estimate Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view purchases. Our generalized linear models show fan preferences for certain weight classes, star fighters, outcome uncertainty and comain event quality factors as well as scheduling preferences for holiday weekends. The popular notion that The Ultimate Fighter reality series served as the impetus for the UFC’s growth is supported in part. The study concludes by showing how the modeling results impact firm revenue generation via fight card characteristics.

Tainsky and Santos are with the Dept. of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL. Salaga is with the College of Business, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL.

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