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NHL vs UFC: UFC is Bigger than NHL in the US? Head to Head Comparison, Viewership, Salary and More

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Recently, TKO Group Holdings (owners of the UFC) president Mark Shapiro claimed that UFC is far ahead of the NHL. So, Let’s look at how these two sports actually compare. And who is leading the NHL vs UFC debate.

He said, “I’ve spent a lot of time in sports in my career, I’m getting old now, and once in a while you hear — you used to hear it more often than you do now — but it used to be the four majors (baseball, basketball, football and hockey),”

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“UFC is now not only mainstream, but it’s one of the four majors. The ratings on ESPN and ESPN2, apples to apples against the NHL — even including the playoffs, we dwarf them.”

If his claims are correct, UFC might have taken over the lead in TV views but NHL surely has a lead in brutal hand to hand combat.

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NHL vs UFC: Head to Head

NHL (National Hockey League)

  • Structure: The NHL comprises 32 professional ice hockey teams, divided into two conferences (Eastern and Western) and four divisions.
  • Game Format: Ice hockey games consist of three periods, each lasting 20 minutes.
  • Global Appeal: While popular in North America, the NHL also has a strong following in countries like Canada, Russia, Sweden, and Finland.

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)

  • Structure: The UFC is not a traditional league but a promotion company that hosts mixed martial arts (MMA) events.
  • Fight Format: UFC events feature various weight classes, with fighters competing in a cage (octagon).
  • Global Phenomenon: The UFC has a massive global fan base, with events held in different countries and fighters from diverse backgrounds.

NHL vs UFC: Viewership and Ratings

NHL Viewership

  • Television: NHL games are broadcast on major sports networks, attracting millions of viewers during the regular season and playoffs.
  • Local vs. National: Local team loyalty drives viewership, but national broadcasts also draw substantial audiences.

UFC Viewership

  • Pay-Per-View (PPV): UFC’s primary revenue comes from PPV events. Major fights, such as title bouts, generate massive buys.
  • Global Streaming: UFC Fight Pass and international streaming platforms expand its reach beyond traditional TV.

Salaries and Earnings

NHL Salaries

  • Player Contracts: NHL players sign contracts with varying lengths and values. Top players earn multimillion-dollar salaries. On an average, the salary range is somewhat close to $ 700,000 per year.
  • Endorsements: Some NHL stars secure lucrative endorsement deals. Top players like Mitch Marner earn over 15 Million USD from partnerships.

UFC Earnings

  • Fight Purses: UFC fighters receive fight purses based on their prominence and performance. Main card fighter and PPV point holders can expect a million dollar pay day. But average athletes barely make around $ 68,000 per year.
    In the past, many former players have criticised the UFC over salary issues. Notable players like heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou left the organization over dispute over pay.
    Currently, UFC is facing an anti-trust lawsuit for low salary payments.

NHL vs UFC: Culture

NHL Fandom: NHL fans embrace team traditions (some dating back decaded), from jersey colors to pre-game rituals. There are numerous local NHL communities that rally around their teams, creating a sense of belonging.

UFC Fandom: UFC fans are passionate about individual fighters and their unique styles. And mostly only the top fighters can drive viewership for the Pay per views. Average fighters don’t enjoy a lot of stardom and live a pretty average life.

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Read More: WATCH: 300-Pound Strongman Eddie Hall’s MMA Sparring Session Ends With Vicious Kick To The Head

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Abhishek Singh
Abhishek Singhhttps://thesportsroom.org
Abhishek is a veteran journalist who covers the sport of MMA, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Arm-wrestling, Boxing and Pop Culture. His passion for Combat Sports began when he first saw the highlights of boxing legends like Manny Pacquiao, Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto etc.
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