For the first time in over a year, there has been renewed conversation about a UFC event in the Nordic region! In late 2008, there was a lot of talk about expanding into Sweden specifically, but those conversations slowed down, and now for the first time in a long time the talk is hot again!
Yesterday at the Q & A session with the UFC Fight Club members at Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London, the day of the weigh-ins for UFC 120 (featuring the UFC Swede Alexander Gustafsson, here is what the UFC had to say :
The UFC’s U.K. president, Marshall Zelaznik, said the promotion’s initial investment in the country has begun to pay dividends across Europe.
“The only way to really judge it is by our Web traffic, where it comes from, by our TV ratings in individual countries, (and) by events like this and our event in Germany,” Zelaznik said. “I think without a doubt the evidence is that we’re growing in Europe.
“It’s a lot sexier these days to talk about these new emerging markets, but we have great success in Italy right now. We’ve just launched (a television deal) in the last six months there. In Scandinavia, it’s probably our third-biggest market (in Europe) in terms of Web traffic, TV ratings, revenues, those types of things.
“We’ll be in Scandinavia soon with an event. It deserves an event. But these are sort of the mainstays as we’re growing the company. We’re getting experience in all those territories, which allows us to embark on a China opportunity, a Brazil opportunity, and an India opportunity.”
The word “Scandinavia” is interesting, as usually they have said “Sweden” specifically. With the current unapproved unified rules status in Sweden, I’m wondering what the UFC could do if they really wanted to have an event in Stockholm. So if not Stockholm, I would assume Helsinki, Finland would be the next logical destination. Would the UFC think that Copenhagen, Denmark, would be a “Scandinavian” option?
If you listen from 6:50 on this video, you can hear “Scandinavia” mentioned again as a potential market :