OCVIBE signs first-of-its-kind events deal with UFC, WWE

Featured image credit: OCVIBE

OCVIBE, a new sports and entertainment district set to open around the Honda Center arena in Anaheim, has agreed a first-of-its-kind, five-year deal to host UFC and WWE events.

Starting this year, UFC and WWE will bring at least three events each to Honda Center, home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, until 2028. Events will include UFC pay-per-views and fight nights, and WWE programmes such as Raw and SmackDown.

Both UFC and WWE, which recently merged under the TKO Holdings umbrella, will join the inaugural line-up of marquee events at OCVIBE, which is due to open a new 6,000-capacity performance venue in 2026. OCVIBE will also collaborate with UFC on additional activities such as viewing parties.

The partnership begins this weekend as Honda Center hosts UFC 298 on February 17, followed by WWE Monday Night Raw on February 19. Honda Center will become the first venue to host back-to-back UFC and WWE events as part of a dedicated sports and entertainment offering since the UFC and WWE merger.

Bill Foltz, chief executive of OCVIBE, said: “Hosting UFC and WWE at the iconic Honda Center allows us to bring some of the most electric live experiences to the residents of Orange County.

“The infectious excitement of these events will only become more powerful as we reimagine the downtown experience for Orange County at OCVIBE, creating a magnetic destination for entertainment, sports, and culture.”

UFC has a longstanding relationship with Honda Center and the city of Anaheim dating back to April 2006, when the arena hosted its first event. UFC also holds the record for the highest-grossing event ever held at Honda Center, with UFC 270 recording a gate of $5.29m (£4.2m/€4.9m) in January 2022.

Peter Dropick, executive vice-president of event development and operations at UFC, added: “The Samueli Family and Honda Center team have been amazing hosts and have helped us put on some of the most memorable UFC events ever. Now the creation of OCVIBE will take the fan experience to the next level with all the innovative ways they will be able to activate around UFC and WWE events in one destination.”

This Saturday will mark the 10th UFC event at Honda Center, the most of any US venue outside of Las Vegas. Honda Center has also hosted over 60 WWE events since opening in 1993.

The wide-ranging OCVIBE project is scheduled for final completion in 2029. Next year, two multi-level parking garages will open around Honda Center, before the aforementioned 6,000-capacity performance venue and urban park open in 2026.

In 2027, two smaller venues will open, including a 2,000-capacity theatre and a 300-capacity intimate club. Honda Center’s new South Plaza will also be unveiled, introducing a new outdoor space for watch parties, activations and lifestyle.

In 2028, the Meadow and Wellness Parks will open, along with the first of two hotels and a new pedestrian bridge. The final phase will begin in 2029 with an additional parking structure and a second hotel, along with the North Plaza. Initial residences will also be ready to move into by 2029.

In an interview with back in September 2020, OCVIBE spokesman Matt Hicks discussed the vision for the $4bn project, which will span 115 acres.

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