Most major sports leagues within the US have eagerly warmed up to legal sports betting. The NBA, NHL, and MLB have all quickly found domestic betting partners, while the NFL has looked internationally for their partnerships. But when it comes to major sports, mixed martial arts (MMA) isn’t typically one you might think of.
That certainly doesn’t mean that you should rule out sports betting options for MMA entirely. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the sport’s premier league, home to the absolute best fighters from all around the world. For reference, the UFC was worth $4 billion back in 2016, but is worth in excess of $7 billion now.
This pales in comparison to a league like the NBA, in which each team averages out to a $1.9 billion value. However, it is critical to remember that the UFC is still extremely young, founded just 26 years ago in 1993. Putting this into perspective, the UFC is absolutely growing at a frenzied pace and will quickly reach a total worth of more than 11 figures.
Fast forward to late 2019 and the UFC is now introducing their first betting solution with in-game wagering options. This new product was created by IMG Arena, owned by Endeavor just like the UFC. Like other sports, UFC Event Centre will be using official UFC logos and fight data for official betting purposes.
Unlike other sports leagues, UFC Event Centre is not being powered by an outside data company. Instead everything will be kept in-house between the UFC and IMG Arena. As a result, any sportsbook that wants to offer UFC Event Centre will be required to pay a percentage of gross revenue from gaming on top of a licensing fee.
Chief Operating Officer for the UFC, Lawrence Epstein, has high hopes for UFC Event Centre as a great way to promote engagement from fans. Most fans of the UFC are male and between the ages of 21 and 44, which parallels to most people who place a sports wager. Even better, the UFC is active throughout the entire year, meaning it does not have an offseason unlike most other sports.
As far as the new betting options go, you can place a wager on variables like the number of takedown attempts, successful takedowns, submissions, knockdowns, landed strikes, and even the length of time a fighter will be on the ground. With less than a 2 second delay between live action and updates to UFC Event Centre, bettors will have real time data to help them make quick decisions between rounds.
While only 8% of sports wagers on UFC events are currently made from in-game options, this number should drastically increase with the new selections made available from UFC Event Centre. For comparison, in-game tennis wagers account for 70% of total bets placed.
Lawrence Epstein also mentions that in-play betting is growing faster than anything else within the sports betting industry. This means that the new product has a bright future and that there will definitely be a huge boost to total volume of sports wagers placed on UFC events.