By Triana O'Keefe, editor Australian Hotelier

Live sport is a proven winner for licensed venues as fans flock in to watch and cheer on their favourite teams with friends and families. While many venues take advantage of the array of sports across Fox Sports, ESPN and Eurosport channels, there are an increasing number of hoteliers including pay-per-view sports on Main Event to drive revenue on a Sunday afternoon.

The Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) is the new kid on the block capturing a generation of fight fans. The sport of mixed martial arts, or MMA, is what the UFC is about and is currently the fastest growing sport in the world. Fans are drawn into its mixture of skill, discipline, excitement and action with UFC fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor becoming stars in their own right.

Venues that have embraced the UFC have seen a boost in Sunday trade with fans coming in and spending money on lunch and drinks. With the UFC broadcast running over four hours, it’s a perfect sport to get people in on a normally quiet trading day.

The UFC fan base is a mixture of young men and women who typically have a high disposable income. They want to have a great day out watching their favourite fighters compete and are willing to spend money to enjoy the experience.

An integral component of any pay-per-view experience is the picture quality and sound. Patrons want to feel like they are there ringside so the most successful pay-per-view venues have ‘live and loud’.

With all UFC events shown in HD, Fox Sports’ pay-per-view manager Japhy Duldig suggests venues have a HD decoder with HD modulation (if required).

“With the advent of big screen TV technology, patrons expect to see their live sport on big screen TVs in HD with quality sound. The reason they want to go to a venue is the atmosphere and excitement that they cannot get sitting on a couch at home.”

Having so much content means operators have the opportunity to promote and lure more people into their venues. To cater for the needs of sporting fans, venues are recommended to have at least four decoders so they can play four sports simultaneously.

“For example, on a Sunday afternoon there is a choice of live rugby league, AFL, rugby union and soccer all on at the same time,” Duldig said.

“By having enough decoders you are able to appeal to a wide range of fans and you don’t have to turn away business.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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