The fight for MMA in NY rage on, and it’s costlier than you might think! The UFC is coming to MSG this Thursday for a press conference to announce their plans to help push the legal battle in having MMA legalized in New York state. This has been an on-going battle for some time now, with no signs of budging. According to the Sports Business Journal, Zuffa has already spent over a million dollars with no results in the past few years alone:
The tab for lobbying in New York last year eclipsed $500,000, based on public filings and interviews with UFC executives. Zuffa also contributed $130,000 to political campaigns, including $36,800 to incoming Gov. Andrew Cuomo, $34,000 to Democratic campaign committees, $10,000 to Republican campaign committees and $1,000 to $3,800 to a dozen different influential state senators and assembly members. Zuffa spent $530,000 lobbying in New York in 2009 and $595,000 there in 2008…Since 2008, Zuffa has employed Global Strategy Group to design and manage a campaign to mobilize MMA fans to push for legislation. Zuffa paid Global $35,000 a month in 2008 and the first half of 2009, and $22,500 a month since then to build a grassroots campaign and drum up conversation online and in the media.
You might be thinking, “So what? It costs money to get things done, so why is this a big deal?” It is when you compare these numbers to the amount spent on lobbying in other states. Hit the jump to see their numbers!
UFC spent about $75,000 lobbying in Indiana in the 18 months leading up to the passage of legislation there in 2009, according to filings in that state. It spent $216,736 in Wisconsin, where lobbyists logged 366 hours with government officials on its behalf leading up to the law’s passage last year. To get a bill passed in South Carolina in 2009, UFC spent $46,550 on lobbyists and contributed $4,250 to campaigns, giving $1,000 each to the chair of the committee where the bill originated, the chair of the subcommittee that reported favorably on it, the senate president and the senate majority leader.
Those states are less populated than New York and yet they recognized the money-making benefits of having the sport sanctioned there. There is something more at stake with “The Big Apple”, which might also include some counter-measures from boxing promoters who don’t want MMA to take over their venues since, as we know, once MMA becomes legal in NY, smaller shows will begin to pop up all across the five boroughs like a plague. It could also be that NY legislators just cost more to sway to your point of view, as I doubt that anyone can legitimately complain about MMA being more violent at this point than sports where people continue to die each year that are allowed in New York. Maybe that will be a story for another day…
In the meantime, if you had Zuffa’s cashflow, what would you do to push MMA in NY?