UFC 198 was the third most attended UFC show with 45,000 fans packing Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, and the event itself injected $12.6 million into the Brazilian Market.
The economic impact ofRock in Rio, a music festival rooted in Rio de Janeiro, was surpassed by UFC 198.
This number accounts for both direct economic impact – money spent by tourists on hotels, food, transportation and shopping – and indirect effects, such as distributors. According to the research, coordinated by professor Jose Manoal Gandara, of the Federal University of Parana’s Tourism Department, 43 percent of fans in attendance were outsiders.
As reported by Gazeta do Povo, the numbers are positive when stacked against other major events. Studies conducted using similar methodology showed that, comparatively, the Curitiba visitors spent almost as much as soccer World Cup tourists spent in Rio de Janeiro (around $117 for Brazilians and $201 for foreigners) and more than two times more than those who visited Rio to watch the Rock in Rio mega festival in 2013 ($43 and $70.50).
Economic impact studies can be very tricky. First, many people going to events already live in the area so there isn’t necessarily a fresh source of revenue coming in from out of town. Second, sports and entertainment falls under luxury expenditures that result from a surplus of money for an individual. It could be argued that people simply diverted their money away from events such as concerts, movies, and other restaurants in the city and moved them towards the UFC event.
That being said this is another example of the UFC putting a lot of money into another international city, just like in Melbourne with UFC 193. The UFC can still call the now T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas their home for the biggest fights but the trend of a real economic impact in foreign cities bodes well for possible better partnerships with cities.