Money Being Left On The Table?

May 29, 2008

While the UFC is certainly flush with cash at this point in their growth, reading this interview Dana had with Sergio Non, I couldn’t help but be left with the impression that, due to a poverty of imagination, some potential marketing opportunities were being left untapped. This particular passage struck me the most….

Dana White: Are you kidding me? It’s like me saying I’m going to go out tomorrow and start a T-shirt company and compete with Affliction. The f*** do I know about selling T-shirts?

SN: Actually, you sell quite a few of them, don’t you?

Dana White: Yeah, well, that’s different. Selling my T-shirts at my big event is one thing. Me going out and trying to talk to Nordstrom and Dillard’s and trying to come up with a name to compete with Affliction – seriously, it’s really crazy that people even ask me that.

With the marketing muscle and overall branding acumen of the Zuffa folks, I have to ask – Why isn’t the UFC trying to leverage it’s brand into other areas – like expanded merchandising of things like t-shirts? Affliction are able to sell t-shirts that retail between $40-$60 not because the quality of their product (I’m not impugning their product) but because of the brand awareness and value that they have generated over time. The UFC would easily be able to use these same attributes to open up what is currently a minor revenue stream. Why aren’t they trying to talk to Nordstrom and Dillard’s, getting their UFC branded items into major retail?

Another area that would have been an avenue to pursue would have been a publishing deal. During the first half of 2008, we have seen the publication of books by Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, and Tito Ortiz. Setting up an imprint with a publishing house and using the power of the UFC marketing machine to hype up the books would have been a boon for all involved – $$$ for the UFC and higher book sales for the authors. Again, this seems to be a missed opportunity owing to a lack of vision in extending the UFC brand.

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