Strikeforce Inks Licensing Deal with CLI

April 13, 2010

Strikeforce has announced a licensing partnership with Collective Licensing International that should give the MMA promotion a much-needed boost on the ancillary revenue side of the business.

(Englewood, CO) April 12, 2010 – Collective Licensing International (CLI) today announced their brand partnership and master license agreement with world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion STRIKEFORCE. The long-term brand partnership agreement provides CLI the rights to license and produce all facets of STRIKEFORCE brand merchandise including, but not limited to, footwear, apparel, accessories and equipment.


CLI plans to elevate the STRIKEFORCE brand though its years of successful action sports and performance athletic brand expertise, innovative marketing initiatives, and extensive retail partnerships. CLI will bridge the gap between core MMA athletes and worldwide consumers for the first time by bringing the STRIKEFORCE-specific product line further into the youth consumer market with an entirely new product offering.


The collaboration with CLI will build the STRIKEFORCE organization into a complete lifestyle and culture brand, securing a commanding role in the fastest growing sport in the world.

Payout Perspective:

You may recall that Strikeforce reportedly sold just $8,000 in merchandise at Strikeforce: Miami in January, so the importance of this licensing deal cannot be understated. The deal should help to provide additional revenue, diversify the company’s revenue streams (necessary from a risk mitigation standpoint), and assist in driving home a brand message.

I have been both complimentary and critical of Strikeforce – just as I have been of the UFC and other promotions in the past. The biggest obstacles to this company’s success that I see right now are its brand image and its communication. Both really go hand in hand, but Strikeforce has yet to establish its core brand from a positioning standpoint. What does it want to be and what are the 4-5 words that you’d associate with Strikeforce? Until the company can answer those questions and communicate them to the MMA demographic, it will continue to be a niche player in the sport.

Why? There’s a lot of confusion out there in the marketplace and without a differentiating brand, most will continue to confuse the Strikeforce product as that “UFC” stuff.

4 Responses to “Strikeforce Inks Licensing Deal with CLI”

  1. mmaguru on April 13th, 2010 11:53 AM

    Could not agree with you more, Strikeforce needs to pick up their marketing efforts of the brand.

  2. Stan Kosek on April 13th, 2010 12:09 PM

    Agree with the article and Guru, Strikeforce really needs to start marketing their brand a lot more, because even if they do a good rating Saturday, which I am predicting they will do, I bet a lot of the very casual fans will refer to it as “UFC”

  3. jv on April 13th, 2010 12:29 PM

    I was kind of scratching my head when I first read about this deal wondering why these guys? But when you add in the clout of their parent company Collective brands (Payless, Sperry etc) it makes more sense. Getting the right image is the key factor. While CLI doesn’t seem to have any experience in MMA at least they do have a fair bit of experience with other extreme sports. The parent company brings an international reach. They also have way more marketing muscle than say the UFC’s T-Shirt licensing companies should they choose to use it. I hope this works out well for Strikeforce.

    Outside of this I do have to say I have been very impressed by the amount of promotional material that has been pushed going into this fight. Not only is the quality way better than in the past but there is way more of it and in places that normally cost real money to advertise. Strikeforce seems to have every thing going in their direction heading into this event. If they can’t put up a good number this time they probably never will.

  4. Jose Mendoza on April 13th, 2010 1:12 PM

    Agreed, and I think all fans would agree here. Rising from a regional level to a world wide brand is definitely a tough task. Building your brand and your product is definitely one of the toughest things to do, but the lack of branding and communication skills should not be unexpected at this stage. It “appears” that Strikeforce is at least starting to address their issues on a higher level now and CBS has been backing them pretty strongly as of late.

    I think it will be great to see how Strikeforce, Bellator, KOTC, and Shine Fights build up their brand and product for the rest of the year and into 2011 since all 4 promotions are in different stages of their development.

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