By Gifford Lee, Editor, Fox Sports Venues magazine & Foxtel Venues Guide magazine
Global superstar Conor McGregor returns to the UFC for the first time in nearly two years next month and the effect he will have on trade come the Sunday, 7 October event is being highly anticipated. McGregor’s comeback fight headlines UFC 229 and sees the Irishman face current world lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia.
The pay-per-view event is available to venues via their Fox Sports provider and famous Sydney Irish bar PJ Gallagher’s in Enfield is expecting a massive turnout.
“McGregor’s return is so exciting,” owner Angela Gallagher told TheShout.
“Our pub is a magnet for McGregor fans and whenever he fights we are full of the expat Irish. But his reach of fans goes further than his countrymen as he’s the ultimate entertainer – quick-witted, lovable but lethal at the same time.”
To further maximise the impact of this event, Gallagher said the venue would deliver UFC 229 across multiple large screens where fans can enjoy Irish food and beverage plus all their main courses were two for one.
The Mantle Group’s Area Manager, Jack Nicholson, told TheShout that the six Pig ‘N’ Whistle venues across Brisbane would be showing the fight and that “it is likely we will triple our usual Sunday revenue”.
He added: “The Pig ‘N’ Whistle Riverside and our Brunswick Street venue will be particularly busy and we should see five to six times the normal number of patrons for a Sunday.
“The venues will start to get really busy at about 11am and should be pretty packed out by midday. At Brunswick Street and Indooroopilly we are actually hosting paid events for this fight, promising ticket holders the best view of the fight.”
Sunshine Coast sports bar The Surfair Beach Hotel is also hoping for a good day’s trade come fight day.
“We have a set up where we automatically purchase every pay-per-view event so we will definitely be showing it live,” Surfair’s general manager Andrew Daly said.
“Even though these events are easily accessible at home, we find people just can’t beat the atmosphere in our new sports bar and we hope (UFC 229) will deliver us a great day of trade.”
The Bayfield Group will also be showing the fight at its three venues and Chief operating Officer, Kaine Bayfield told TheShout: “We will absolutely be showing the McGregor Fight at Dee Why Hotel, The Light Brigade and the Belrose Hotel. McGregor has always been a major drawcard and we don’t expect this to be any different with the expectation of a full house at all three venues. Doors open at 10am at all three venues and we anticipate an early crowd getting in early to grab prime position to watch the fight.”
Fox Sports’ national pay-per-view manager, Japhy Duldig, said he expects “packed out venues as people from hard-core fans to casual observers want see if McGregor still has the skills and the power to beat the most-feared wrestler in the UFC and win back his title”.
“This is the most anticipated fight of 2018,” Duldig said.
“Conor is the global phenomenon who fought Mayweather and has all the social media support while Khabib is undefeated and is the most dominant UFC lightweight fighter ever.”
On Sunday, 7 October, the UFC 229 preliminary bouts are live on Fox Sports from 10am before the main card starts at 1pm on the Main Event channel.