The leading mixed martial arts promoter is launching UFC Event Centre in partnership with IMG Arena, the first in-game wagering product from the UFC, UFC president Dana White announced Thursday night.
"The UFC Event Centre and its official data feed will be a game changer for how UFC fans engage with our events through sportsbooks and gaming operators," White said in a statement. "We have the most passionate, die-hard fans of any sport, and they're going to love the option to place bets live during a fight. Betting operators are also going to love this product because, unlike other sports, UFC has no off season. The action will be non-stop for fans and sportsbook operators."
It will take official data from UFC, including logos, photos and fighter bios, and will be available to sportsbooks for a licensing fee and a share of gross gaming yield for data access. Specifics on the share and the fee weren't provided to Bloomberg, which first reported news of the live-betting partnership.
"In-game betting is the fastest-growing part of the sports-gaming industry," Lawrence Epstein, UFC's chief operating officer, told Bloomberg. "Some of the stuff we're doing is stuff that hasn't been done with respect to UFC in the past."
The product will feature more than 50 betting opportunities per bout, including 20 new wagers updated in real time. UFC betting to this point has primarily occurred before the fight (92% of wagers, per IMG Arena) and has been on which fighter will win, total rounds for the fight and the method of victory.
New potential wagering options will include odds on number of takedown attempts, total strikes landed, if a fighter is knocked down and the amount of time a fighter spends on the mat.
The UFC signed a five-year deal with ESPN for exclusive broadcasting rights in May 2018, $750 million over the five years for the rights to broadcast on ESPN+.