Sponsor spotlight: Safe Auto Insurance – Part 1

November 30, 2010

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with first time fight sponsor Safe Auto Insurance and MMA Management company VF Elite Sports Agency about Safe Auto’s foray into sponsoring UFC fighters. The first part will focus on Safe Auto. The second part will focus on VF Elite Sports Agency.  

Safe Auto and VF have entered into an agreement where Safe Auto will sponsor VF represented fighters.

Safe Auto is an Ohio based company of about 1,000 employees offering affordable, state-minimum auto insurance to automobile drivers in 14 states.

Elie Deshe, VP of Emerging Media for Safe Auto Insurance, spoke to MMA Payout while en route to speak with Thiago Silva, one of its newest members of its fight team. Silva fights Brandon Vera on Jan. 1st. In addition to Silva, Safe Auto will sponsor Stephan Bonnar on Dec. 4th at the Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale, Clay Guida on Jan. 1st at UFC 125 and Jake Ellenberger at Ultimate Fight Night 23 on Jan. 22nd. Travis Browne was Safe Auto’s first sponsored fighter at UFC 120. 

MP: Have you been involved in any other sports-related sponsorships?

SA: In the past, SA was involved in sponsorships with the NFL, the NBA and specifically with the Cleveland Cavaliers. SA has also sponsored a truck in the NASCAR truck series. Deshe indicated that while some SA employees were MMA fans, others did not know of the sport. However, with the sponsorship, more SA employees are aware of MMA.

MP: What demographic are you trying to reach with your sponsorship?

SA: The 18-49 (age group) demographic and anyone that needs insurance. This covers a lot of different groups.

MP: What does SA want out of the sponsorship?

SA: Its more about having a presence in all of the events. SA doesn’t want to be seen in just one shot. We want people to think of SA when they think of auto insurance. This sort of goes along with our philosophy–we’re always around.

MP: Do you have a say as to the fighters that sponsor SA?

SA: Obviously, SA approves of the fighters. They must portray a good image. We have been very happy with the guys (identified to sponsor SA in upcoming fights).

MP:  How long is your sponsorship commitment?

SA: 1 year.

MP: What measurement will you use to determine the success of sponsoring MMA fighters?

SA: We’re going to be launching a website for the Safe Auto Fight Team (www.safeauto.com/mma) to allow people to have access to the fighters.  The web site will feature interviews and interactive contests. There are ways to measure that sort of traffic and interest. We hope that this definitely leads to more sales. *The web site is currently online.

Below is a video of SA sponsor Stephan Bonnar, featured on the Safe Auto MMA site.

MP: What type of fight night placement do you have on the fighters?

SA: Every (SA) fighter has a hat (on walkout), placement on their fight banner and rear placement on their shorts. SA discussed with VF Elite (fighter’s representatives) the need for consistency with its placement (of the SA logo) on the fighters and they understood.

Note: Stephan Bonnar is not a VF represented fighter but an agreement was made between VF and Bonnar’s representatives where Safe Auto will sponsor Bonnar.

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