Since 2009, I have advocated for the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts competitions in New York. The sport has grown beyond its gory beginnings into a respectable sports entertainment entity. The economic benefits of regulating professional mixed martial arts in New York would generate almost $50 million on an annual basis. This estimate is based on data extrapolated from an independent economic analysis conducted last fall by HR&A, a consultant that has done work for New York State and City, on potential benefits of holding competitions in the Buffalo and NYC regions. This estimate is based on a conservative annual estimate of two mixed martial arts events in the New York Metropolitan region and four events in upstate New York. It does not include economic activity from increased training facilities and other related economic activity that would naturally accompany the holding of events in New York.
The HR&A study concluded that $11.5 million would be generated for a single event in New York City and $5.5 million for an event in the Buffalo area. The benefits include direct spending on the event (staffing, food, merchandise and television production), visitor spending (lodging and restaurants) and indirect spending. Especially importantly in the upstate areas, these events are expected to generate significant lodging and restaurant activity over a two or three day period. For example in the Buffalo study, a mixed martial arts event would require over 4,000 hotel rooms out of a total stock of 12,000 rooms in the western New York region. The same event would require 300 staff working on the event or the equivalent of creating 57 local jobs.
Mixed martial arts competitions have generated immense economic benefits across the country. For these reasons, I urge the State Assembly, State Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo to legalize MMA in NY. Our state needs the eonomic activity genereated by MMA events.
Statement by outgoing Assemblyman Michael Benjamin (D-Bronx)