Sponsor spotlight: Safe Auto Insurance – Part 2
December 1, 2010
In the second installment of the sponsor spotlight on Safe Auto Insurance, we look at the agency that hooked it up with the world of mixed martial arts: VF Elite Agency.
VF Elite Agency is owned and operated by John Fosco. The agency is based out of Chicago, Illinois and has a stable of fighters which include Thiago Silva, Clay Guida, Travis Browne, Jake Ellenberger, Alan Belcher and Ryan Jensen. MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Fosco about how he was able to forge a partnership with Safe Auto.
MP: How did you find the partnership with Safe Auto?
JF: We take a professional approach. VF Elite employees cold call companies outside the MMA world. Everyone wants mainstream money. VF Elite spends 10 hours a day and 4 to 5 days a week contacting companies about sponsorship opportunities.
One of our guys who does cold-calling indicated that we might have a have potential meeting with Safe Auto.
Fosco indicated that Safe Auto was skeptical, thinking the sponsorship was not a good fit at first, but was willing to hear VF’s pitch. Fosco took the meeting and persuaded SA that MMA was the best value in sports marketing. Safe Auto saw value in the sponsorship and a partnership began.
MP: What is your approach to sponsorship?
JF: We don’t sell a specific fighter. We sell the sport. When it comes to the value, the value is the viewership of the particular event. We sell the sport and then we plug our fighters. Some sponsors, like Safe Auto, want to be visible. The sponsor usually asks, “Can you ensure we are visible on “x” amount?” We can confirm we can get representation for the event. We give the sponsor options. For example, for UFC 125, we gave Safe Auto the option of sponsoring Thiago Silva or Clay Guida. Safe Auto liked both of the guys, so we will do both.
In a case like Stephan Bonnar, VF Elite does not represent Bonnar. We worked in cooperation with Bonnar’s representatives regarding Bonnar being sponsored by Safe Auto [at his fight Dec. 4th].
MP: How long did it take you to complete the sponsorship agreement with Safe Auto?
JF: It took us probably 2.5-3 months.
MP: How long is the sponsorship agreement?
JF: Safe Auto is committed to at least 2011.
MP: What are some of the terms of the sponsorship?
JF: The Safe Auto logo must be visible on every UFC card [where it has a sponsored fighter].
-Every Safe Auto Insurance fighter will wear a hat, logo placement on the rear of the fight shorts and placement on the fight banner.
-Fees are flat but there is a bonus fee if the fighter participates in a championship match.
-The fighter must be on a televised match (PPV, Spike or Versus). The fight must be confirmed to be aired in advance. (This means no fighters on preliminary matches elevated to air at the last minute).
Below, are the fight shorts of SA fighter Travis Browne at UFC 120. Notice the prime placement on the rear of the white shorts. (via VF Elite web site)