Dave & Buster’s inks deal to broadcast UFC events

The food-and-games chain partnered with the mixed martial arts organization to show all of the matches in its bars nationwide.
Dave & Buster's
Photo courtesy Dave & Buster's

Dave & Buster’s has partnered with mixed martial arts organization UFC to broadcast every one of its fights in its restaurants, the eatertainment chain announced Thursday.

The move puts the focus on the chain’s sports bar aspect, rather than just its kid-friendly amusements. Many of the chain’s 140 locations have 40-foot-wide, ultra-high definition screens, which the company refers to as WOW Walls.

“Watching UFC on a big screen, surrounded by other fight fans, is an electrifying experience, and it doesn’t get better than our 40-foot WOW Wall,” Henri Mazza, senior director of entertainment experience at the chain, said in a statement. “There’s no better viewing experience for MMA fans.”

UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, produces more than 40 live events each year and has a roster of athletes representing more than 75 countries. The mixed martial arts organization, which began in 1993, has more than 187 million social media followers.

Dave & Buster’s has been working hard to recover from the pandemic, looking for previously missed opportunities to grow its food-and-games business.

In January, the chain said it was looking for ways to maximize its largely unexplored lunch daypart. Dave & Buster’s is also undertaking a major remodeling project.

COVID surges have hit the company’s sales and traffic, reducing special events business.

With the new UFC deal, Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s suggests that customers might want to book a private function space to watch the games with friends.

The chain is promoting its sports bar menu, including chicken wings and tenders or a Giant Bavarian Pretzel or a Mushroom Stout Burger, to eat during the UFC fights.

“We’re thrilled that Dave & Buster’s will be showcasing all our UFC events,” David Shaw, SVP of international and content for UFC, said in a statement. “Dave & Buster’s is one of the most popular restaurant and entertainment brands in the country, and their amazing video and audio enhancements, combined with their deep food and beverage choices, offers an incredible communal viewing experience for UFC events.”

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