The UFC continues to generate record revenues for parent company Endeavor, as financial records have been revealed for the fourth quarter and full year in 2022.
Endeavor released details during an earnings report call on Tuesday, with the UFC once again leading the way for the publicly traded company. Overall, Endeavor’s owned sports properties, which includes UFC and Professional Bull Riders, generated $301.4 million in the fourth quarter, which is up nine percent from the same time in 2021.
For the year, the UFC helped lead the owned sports properties to $1.3 billion in revenue, up $224.1 million more from 2021 or 20 percent from last year.
“Both organizations recorded record revenue last year,” Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said. “All 21 UFC events with live audiences sold out, continuing a 29 event sell out streak since returning from the pandemic. UFC posted its best sponsorship year ever in 2022, unlocking new categories and inventory to reach a fan base that grew double digits over 2021 in the U.S.
“It also continues to be an industry leader in digital engagement. UFC’s social media accounts now have over 220 million followers combined. TikTok followers alone grew 55 percent year over year.”
According to Chief Financial Officer Jason Lublin, the UFC’s streak of sellout cards not only continued in 2022, but the return to UFC Fight Night cards outside of the UFC APEX helped to lead to even more record-breaking numbers for live gates.
“UFC set 11 arena records for highest-grossing events, including four of the highest grossing Fight Nights in the U.S. and the two highest grossing Fight Nights in UFC history, both at London’s O2 Arena,” Lublin said.
As far as the growth in sponsorship, Lublin detailed how the UFC added several new categories, such as the “official law firm” of the UFC, which added new revenue for the company.
“UFC also had its highest sponsorship sales in the company’s history,” Lublin said. “We added several new sponsors to our roster like V-Chain, New Amsterdam Vodka, and Project Rock. We also introduced new categories like the official commercial truck, the official law firm, and the official ready-to-drink partners of the UFC.”
Looking ahead at 2023, the UFC is expected to hold the same number of events overall but the promotion anticipates more travel rather than more cards at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
The APEX has become a mainstay for UFC Fight Night cards since the global pandemic started, but it appears the promotion is starting to move more and more away from that, with plans to travel to more arenas in both the U.S. and international locations in 2023.
“At UFC, we anticipate the same total number of events but with more U.S. events outside of our APEX arena, more international events and overall more marquee events, all which carry a higher cost structure,” Lublin said. “This in turn impacts margins.”
Endeavor also promoted the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will include the eventual return of Conor McGregor before the end of 2023 with his anticipated fight against Michael Chandler.
Overall, the UFC continues to be a driving force for revenue for Endeavor with stock prices currently trading at $22.31 per share, which was up on Tuesday in the wake of the earnings report being released.