Spike Nixes Full Tilt
February 20, 2009
MMAPayout.com has written extensively on the curious path of Full Tilt Poker as it has made itself a premier sponsor for both fighters and the organization itself in the UFC. The UFC had for some time kept sportsbooks and online gambling/gaming businesses at arms length. Their being competition for the major Vegas casinos who hosted the UFC as well as their illegality in some situations made the UFC reticent to work with them. With a collapsing ad market, the UFC recently changed their informal policy and brought in Full Tilt as a top shelf sponsor for the fight company. Full Tilt has also become a major sponsor of fighters, with their logo being omnipresent on fighter hats, shorts, and T-shirts. The road seems to have taken another turn, as MMAPayout.com has learned that UFC television partner Spike TV has stepped in and nixed Full Tilt from being a sponsor on its’ airwaves. Sources indicate the embargo on Full Tilt could go into effect as soon as this week-end’s UFC 95 card on Spike. The Full Tilt sponsorships would still be OK for PPV, since they aren’t first run on Spike. The ban affects the UFC in it’s ability to have signage on the Octagon mat as well as naming rights on the replays during the broadcast. The ban looks to affect the UFC as well as fighters, who wouldn’t be able to wear signage for the poker company.
Full Tilt Poker has been able to skirt a federal ban on online gaming by the duality of their usage of the .net/.com brands. The .net brand is used for educational/entertainment purposes and is the brand that is advertised through all of the company’s media. The .com is the money site that would raise the ire of regulators, with the .com accessible through using the software from the .net. This gray area may be a bit too murky for Spike to sign off on. The Fight Night and Euro Cards on Spike represent a more direct connection from Spike to Full Tilt (as opposed to PPV cards), making them unwilling to sign off on the UFC’s deal.