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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

UFC Events Expected To Bring Significant Economic Boost To Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 22, 2011 -- The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has landed two major Ultimate Fighting Championship events that are expected to generate millions of dollars in economic benefits for the state and local economies.

The UFC events set for June 26 in Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center and Aug. 6 in Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center could generate between $6 million and $8 million in total economic activity, based on a study of similar events in New York.

Harrisburg native and Penn State All-American wrestler Phil Davis will headline the Philadelphia event, while Hollidaysburg native Charlie Brenneman will be showcased in Pittsburgh.

"With both events featuring Pennsylvania fighters, we project total ticket sales for the two days of about 19,000," said Greg Sirb, executive director of the State Athletic Commission, which oversees boxing, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling in Pennsylvania. The commission is part of the Department of State.

Sirb has promoted Pennsylvania for UFC events since the sport was legalized here in 2009. He believes Pennsylvania is the first state other than Nevada to attract two UFC events in the same summer. If these dates are successful, Sirb said he hoped more UFC bouts and their overnight visitors will come to Pennsylvania in the future.

"Hotels, restaurants, bars, and other service businesses near the arenas will see large increases in business," Sirb said. Estimated ticket sales of 12,000 would be expected to generate between $4 million and $5 million for Philadelphia's economy; 7,000 attendees would mean between $2 million and $3 million for Pittsburgh.

The State Athletic Commission receives no state general fund tax money and is totally self-supportive through a 5 percent tax on gate receipts of sanctioned events and various license fees. Over the past 10 years, the commission has returned more than $1.5 million to the state's general fund. Money from the UFC events will help insure proper oversight for all sports the commission oversees, including amateur boxing, in which many young athletes compete.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State