Is Endeavor holding on to UFC Apex events to boost VIP ticket sales?

Kevin Lee is set to make his return to the octagon this weekend at UFC Vegas 76 against Rinat Fakhretdinov. Ahead of the event, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the UFC’s choice to keep hosting events at the APEX facility.

While the APEX cage served its purpose during the pandemic when fans were unable to attend live events, Lee believes that the promotion should now be shifting back to hosting events in front of larger crowds.

“I’m not gonna lie…I wish it was in front of more fans,” said Lee. “I don’t know how many people are gonna be at APEX, but it’s kind of stupid. I don’t know what we’re doing. You know what I mean?”

Kevin Lee added:

“You know, I wish that was happening but I’m I make do with what I do and I’m a go out there on Saturday in front of 2 to 300 rich a** motherfu**ers that want to see me bleed and we gon’ get it in.”

This last bit might be the key to what’s happening.

The UFC successfully navigated the challenges posed by the pandemic by organizing live shows at various venues without fans, implementing strict Covid protocols. However, the APEX facility has continued to be a prominent location for events, with over 40 percent of UFC cards held there this year.

While UFC President Dana White has expressed his desire for the organization to return to hosting events in different locations, the APEX remains a central part of the current strategy due to logistical advantages.

There’s also a speculation that it might be a part of a larger business strategy for Endeavor. Dana White has been cozying up to VIPs like Tech oligarchs, giant youtubers and tiktok celebs but it might be a part of a strategy.

In 2021, Endeavor’s company ‘On Location’ acquired a software for dynamic ticket pricing. On Location caters to tiny ultra exclusive crowds.

Dynamic pricing is the strategy of constantly adjusting prices in response to demand, a practice that consumers are accustomed to when buying airline tickets and booking hotels.

The terms of the deal between Endeavor and Qcue were not disclosed.

Qcue’s technology will be integrated into On Location’s suite of offerings.

Qcue’s clients include Major League Baseball teams, college athletic departments, and Australian Football League teams.

On Location has secured a deal with the International Olympic Committee to be the exclusive hospitality provider for the 2024, 2026, and 2028 Olympic Games.

So by reducing the number of public events, UFC is effectively driving up demand in addition to being able to price gauge the high ticket players in town.

Back in June, UFC applied for four more permits for events in the APEX – cards held on Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Oct. 7, Nov. 18.