UFC 2009 Undisputed: Sponsor List Revealed

March 30, 2009

As a follow-up to last week’s piece on in-game advertising, MMAPayout has obtained the full list of sponsors that have been approved for the UFC’s latest video game: UFC 2009 Undisputed.

While in-game advertising should be considered a potentially viable source of future ancillary revenue for the UFC, the consideration that in-game advertising could also provide the fighters with additional sources of revenue is equally intriguing.

Sources have intimated to MMAPayout that fighters have been given permission by THQ to select three or four sponsors from this list to appear on their fight gear and that some fighters are actively trying to sell these placements.

How much might each placement be worth? An estimated $20,000 to $75,000, depending on the popularity of the fighter.

So, I guess the better question might be: what represents fair value?

These things are always tough to gauge because it’s not an exact science – many intangibles must be considered to properly value fighter sponsorships, both in real life and within video games.

However, it seems to me that when you factor in the potential reach of this video game and the high rates of repeat exposure due to multiple playing sessions by any, one user, a $20k-$75k fee is reasonable.

Certainly the level of exposure through the video game is equal to that, or possibly even superior to, the level of exposure companies receive from fighters at live UFC events; and in this case, fighters on the main card (again depending on their popularity) are receiving at least $20k per placement.

Having said all of that, there are probably three things standing in the way as a fighter trying to sell placements on his in-game gear:

1.) Are a fighter’s sponsors on this approved short-list (one that only represents a fraction of the total number of UFC approved sponsors)?

2.) What impact might exclusivity agreements with a fighter’s current, real-life sponsors have on his ability to attract other sponsors on the approved list?

3.) Finally, have some or all of these potential sponsors already reached paid agreements with the UFC or THQ in order to appear in the game and under what conditions?

Camps (17)

10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
Alliance MMA
American Top Team
Black House
Brazilian Top Team
Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Extreme MMA
Greg Jackson’s Gym
HIT Squad
Minnesota Martial Arts Academy
Serra Jiu-Jitsu
Sityodtong USA
Team Nogueria
Team Penn
Team Quest
Team Takedown
The Pit

Commercial Sponsors (33)

American Fighter
And 1
Clinch Gear
Death Clutch
Hayabusa Fight Wear
HITMAN Fight Gear
Metabolic Adaptation
MMA Warehouse
One More Round
On The Mat
Pain Athletics Inc.
Premier Fighter
Sinister Brand
Skin Industries
Sucker Punch
Take A Nap Fight Gear
Toe 2 Toe
Warrior International

There are several head-scratching additions and omissions within the list, but upon further investigation it appears as though the list of camps and sponsors reflects the UFC’s state of business as it was some months ago, prior to THQ’s programming freeze (a point in the game’s development where programming shifts from new additions to bug and game play tweaks).

It might explain the absence of prominent sponsors like BSN and Cage Fighter, while also justifying the inclusion of Premier Fighter (a brand distributed at the time through Hitman and TapouT, a relationship that has since been severed).

The omissions of Bud Light and Full Tilt Poker aren’t really any surprise considering the intended audience of this game is quite broad. Both would raise unwanted social issues regarding drinking and gambling; this even aside from the UFC’s current poker sponsor debacle.

One of the sponsors who worked out a deal for inclusion in the game couldn’t be happier with the results.

“We’re very excited to be an official in game partner for UFC 2009 Undisputed,” said MMAWarehouse.com CEO Mika Casey. “Not only is it one of the most unique marketing opportunities we’ve been involved with, but THQ has really put the time and effort into making an authentic, true to life experience with both look and feel. Even if we were not a partner, this is a game that as a gamer, I cannot wait to play.”

UFC 2009: Undisputed is set to hit store shelves on May 19th for the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. If you’ve haven’t read the game preview from MMAPayout’s Todd Martin on CBS, you should.

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