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UFC ranks 7th on Forbes’ list of most valuable sports brands

Fans sit in their seats at UFC 203 on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
(AP Photo/David Dermer)

The UFC ranks No. 7 on Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable sports brands.

Rather than rank these brands based on their overall worth, the “Fab 40 measures how much the name of each brand–all by itself–contributes to their value or earnings.”

Despite the $4 billion price tag WME-IMG paid to obtain the UFC in July, Forbes estimates the UFC’s current value at $2 billion — a 335 percent increase over the last 12 months. According to Forbes, the UFC 12-month increase among business brands.

The publication notes that the sale itself impacted the UFC’s value, but the $4 billion mark was merely a premium WME-IMG had to dish out to merely acquire the company.

Rounding out the top 10 were Nike ($27 billion), ESPN ($16.5 billion), Adidas ($7 billion), Under Amour ($5.5 billion), Sky Sports ($5 billion), MLB Advanced Media ($2.2 billion), YES Network ($1.4 billion) and New England Sports Network ($750 million).

Reebok, the UFC’s official outfitter, landed at No. 9 with a brand value of $800 million (3.6 percent decrease from 2015).

Forbes also included a ranking of the “Fab 40 Athletes,” though none of the rostered fighters on the UFC made the cut. Those were determined by “their earnings (excluding salary and bonus from their sport and their investment income), minus the average income of the top 10 athletes in the same sport.”

It’s worth noting Conor McGregor was recently listed on the publication’s top 100 highest paid athletes from June 2015 to June 2016, landing at No. 85 for his reported $22 million in earnings in fight purses ($18 million) and endorsements ($4 million). While McGregor is expected to make a comparable amount this year, he’ll have a ways to go before catching up to Cristiano Ronaldo and his $88 million earnings.

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