AirAsia announced as “Official Airline ” for UFC

November 3, 2017

The UFC has announced a partnership with AirAsia making it the company’s first “Official Airline” of the UFC.  The partnership encompasses Asia and Australia and starts Saturday at UFC 217.

AirAsia is Asia’s leading low cost carrier.  “AirAsia is an innovative and fast-growing brand, we thank them for the support and we’re looking forward to creating engaging branded content for fight fans and AirAsia customers to enjoy,” stated Kevin Chang, UFC Vice President of Asia-Pacific in a press release.

More from the press release announcement:

AirAsia will begin its international activations during UFC’s historic inaugural event in mainland China at UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: SILVA vs. GASTELUM on Saturday, November 25 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. As part of this collaboration, AirAsia will obtain rights to signage and branding inside UFC’s world-famous Octagon® during the event in Shanghai and select international UFC events in 2018.

With this partnership, AirAsia will also serve as presenting sponsor of select UFC Fan Experiences throughout the region and promote a national sweepstakes campaign where two fans will win a UFC VIP Experience during an event in 2018. The airline brand will also be integrated across multiple UFC-based social and digital platforms, as well as having a presence during live-event broadcasts and on UFC and AirAsia will also jointly sponsor content featured on Weibo and WeChat platforms in China.

Along with integration during international UFC events, this sponsorship will also deliver exciting co-branded content to Asian fight fans via AirAsia and UFC’s media platforms. These initiatives include monthly training sessions featuring UFC athletes and members of the UFC Performance Institute’s staff.

UFC and AirAsia will also make history by selecting the first-ever UFC scholarship program recipient. As part of this program, one Asia-based athlete will be awarded an all-expenses paid scholarship that includes travel to the United States and training at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that the UFC is making a concerted efforted to find international sponsors in attempt to regionalize the UFC events.  The Chinese debut this month is a huge moment for the comment and partnering with AirAsia is another sign of making inroads with local partners.  On the domestic front, I would not be surprised if the UFC is making pitches to airlines to be the domestic airline for the company.

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