$2,466,279 CDN gate for UFC 215

ufc215 edmonton

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UFC draws a sellout in Edmonton

From the gridiron to the rink, and now the Octagon, Edmontonians continue to prove that they love their sports. On Saturday, 34,312 fans attended the Eskimos Week 12 game vs. the Stampeders at Commonwealth Stadium, while a sold out crowd of 16,232 packed Rogers Place for the UFC’s debut in the City of Champions – good for a gate of $2,466,279 CDN (or $2,028,307 USD). After the event, UFC exec David Shaw said that there were a number of refunds issued after Ray Borg pulled out of the main event (more than one hundred but less than a thousand), but strong walk-up demand exceeded the number of refunds. Shaw wouldn’t commit on when the UFC would return to Alberta, but said they plan to have three events in Canada in 2018. See David Shaw’s full interview via MMA Fighting:

Senators downsizing

Speaking of demand, the Ottawa Senators announced last week that they will be removing approximately 1,500 seats from Canadian Tire Centre in an effort to “right size” the arena. The move comes after Ottawa faced criticism from fans and media personalities (aka Jeremy Roenick) for not selling out games during the team’s run to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past spring. Furthermore, the Sens have one of the lowest season ticket holder bases in the NHL, and sat 21st in league attendance last season with an average of 16,744 (their lowest average since 1996-97). The team also unveiled their heritage “O” logo at centre ice for the 2017-18 season, further fuelling the speculation that the team will permanently adopt the heritage logo and jerseys as their primary brand.

Then there were six…

Rogers Centre, Saputo Field, and McMahon Stadium are out, meaning there are now six Canadian cities/venues vying to host games during the 2026 FIFA World Cup. If North America is awarded the World Cup, Canada will host 10 games (out of 80) at two or three locations.

The Athletic doubles down in Canada

In an attempt to become one of the largest sports media companies in Canada, The Athletic is expanding beyond Toronto and will provide hockey coverage in all Canadian NHL markets. In addition, Pierre LeBrun and Ian Denomme (formerly with The Hockey News and Yahoo Sports) will be joining The Athletic roster. LeBrun becomes senior NHL columnist (he will also continue in his role at TSN), while Denomme becomes deputy editor of The Athletic Canada project, with a focus on shaping NHL coverage.

The Athletic is a subscription-based sports website covering pro and college teams in Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit and San Francisco. According to founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, the company can turn a profit in a city once it gets between 8,000 to 12,000 subscribers. It charges subscribers $40 annually and has no plans to sell advertising.

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Sports Business Canada

Covering the top stories at the intersection of sports and business in Canada.