Nate Diaz is selling wine

May 5, 2017

Nate Diaz says he has a lot going on outside of fighting and maybe he does.  According to his latest social media post, he is promoting wine in Northern California.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani on Wednesday, Diaz talked extensively about what he is up which includes working with marijuana businesses and apparently, wine.

@tysonrip79 Coolest wine billboard ever✔️ Big thanks to @natediaz209 @concretewineco @rippeyfamilyvineyards @vinturewineco @reignwine #natediaz #lodivintners #lodi #tank209 #209 @lodi_wine photo cred: @fotopimp

A post shared by natediaz209 (@natediaz209) on

MMA Junkie confirmed the billboard is real with the fighter’s publicist Zach Rosenfeld.  Rosenfeld is the son of longtime public relations exec Stan Rosenfeld.  Zach joined his father’s firm to start a sports practice.

In the interview this past Wednesday, Diaz stated that he turned down a fight with Tony Ferguson for this July at UFC 213.  He also stated that the UFC has extended his fight contract with the company due to the fact he has been inactive.

Payout Perspective:

While the billboard is odd, Diaz is expanding outside of the Octagon which is a good move and a look toward a life where he no longer needs to fight to earn money.  Notably, his brother Nick has a Bobblehead Night this Sunday at the minor league, Stockton Ports game.  On July 14th, Nate will have his own Bobblehead Night with the team.  So, it does seem that there is a strategy to focus on his local notoriety and perhaps expand later on.  We shall see if Diaz steps back into the Octagon anytime soon.

UFC 208: Will you buy it?

February 10, 2017

UFC 208 will be the third time that the company has held a show in the state of New York since it legalized professional MMA last fall.  Are fans interested in this PPV?

In the main event, Holly Holm takes on Germaine de Randamie for the new UFC women’s featherweight title.

Also, Anderson Silva returns to action taking on Derek Brunson.

UFC 208 will be the second time a UFC card was headlined by women without Ronda Rousey as one of the main eventers.  The other, UFC 200, featured Amanda Nunes and Miesha Tate.  Of course, that was by necessity with Jon Jones being pulled from that event.

One must surmise the UFC had hoped for another title fight (possibly Diaz-Conor III) to headline this card with Holm as a strong semi-main.  With McGregor taking a prolonged paternity leave and Nate Diaz trying out boxing since he claims the UFC put him on ice, fans get the matchup for a new title.

Perhaps this slot was to be for Cris “Cyborg” Justino.  But, she was flagged by USADA.

So, it comes down to Holly Holm.  While Germaine de Randamie might be a promising fighter, she has only 2 fights since 2015.

Holm is on a 2-fight losing streak which included losing the title to Miesha Tate in March and then dropping a decision to Valentina Shevchenko in late July.

However, the latter fight, which aired on Fox, scored the highest rating for a summer show since the company has been on Fox.

Her main event loss to Shevchenko peaked at over 4.6 million viewers with the broadcast averaging near 3 million viewers.  Holm defeated Ronda Rousey in November 2015 to tear down the former undefeated champ’s mystique and essentially end her career.

But, is her appeal enough to draw on PPV?

Anderson Silva’s drawing power is now past its prime and marketing efforts are behind the Holm-de Randamie fight.

There are signs that this event will not draw.  There is no sponsor for the Embedded series, which have been lackluster to say the most.  UFC 208 is not trending online and the peak viewership of the weigh-ins on YouTube was comparable to that of UFC 206.  The event featuring Jose Aldo and Max Holloway drew 150,000 buys and was the lowest rate for 2016.

It appears that UFC 208 will be on par with UFC 206 as its truly a card for the hardcore UFC fans.

Cosmopolitan features Rousey’s diet

October 14, 2015

Cosmopolitan featured Ronda Rousey and her eating habits in a recent post about the UFC fighter.  The write-up is another good placement for making in-roads into the female demographic.

Screenshot 2015-10-13 14.31.16
The online article includes a video interview with Rousey as she describes her diet.

Recently, Rousey has appeared on two mainstream programs with demos that target women – “Ellen” and “Good Morning America.”

As an aside, in comparison, here is a snapshot of Dwayne Johnson’s diet going into the role of Hercules.

Payout Perspective:

Cosmopolitan is a magazine made for women.  According to its 2016 media kit over 14 million of the 16 million estimated readers are women and a bulk of those women are in one of the UFC’s target demos (18-49).  The allure (no pun intended with the mag of the same name) of targeting women makes sense for UFC marketing purposes as it seeks to expand its audience.

Will this effort help with selling UFC 193?  We shall see.

UFC will spend to promote for UFC 189

May 25, 2015

Six weeks away from UFC 189 and the UFC will go all in with its promotion of the Jose Aldo-Conor McGregor fight on Saturday, July 11th.

The official trailer was revealed during Saturday’s UFC 187.  If you had watched the UFC Embedded videos for the World Tour, you may recall the shooting of the promo on the Las Vegas Strip.  The promotional video shows that the UFC is spending a lot of money for the event.

The promotion indicated that it will make some commercial buys during the NBA Playoffs.  With both Eastern and Western Conference Finals heading to sweeps (or near sweeps), we may see UFC commercials during The Finals next week.

Payout Perspective:

If the World Tour earlier this year wasn’t enough, we will see more Embedded videos leading up to the fight. We can expect more ad placement along every platform.  The hype for UFC 189 will outdo UFC 182 earlier this year. The World Tour included an extensive Embedded series which was entertaining mainly due to Conor McGregor’s antics.  Expect a 10 series Embedded series in lead-up to the event as well as a UFC “Bad Blood” episode which likely will air on FS1.  A lot is going into this production as many predict this to be the biggest fight of the year (so far).  With a lot invested in this event, Zuffa is hoping that it brings in the PPV buys.

Doritos plans 360 degree activation around UFC 180

October 19, 2014

Frito-Lay’s Doritos brand tortilla chip is seeking to make a significant mark in leading up to UFC 180: Velasquez vs. Werdum.  According to the Sports Business Journal, it is set to conduct a full-blown activation in Mexico.

Doritos is activating a 360 degree campaign in 300-plus stores across Mexico with more than 2.5 million bags printed and in market from October through November 2014.  The campaign will be supported across multiple platforms including mass media, digital, social media and business-to-business.

Payout Perspective:

The Doritos marketing strategy surrounding UFC 180 is similar to that of Tecate’s U.S. strategy (without the PPV rebates) in lead up to a Pacquiao fight.  Even though UFC 180 may not be considered a marquee event in the U.S., it is big in Mexico and Doritos believes that it is too.  With a “360 degree” marketing campaign promoting the event, one would hope to see a substantial number of viewers for this event thanks to this marketing.

UFC 168: Payout Perspective

December 30, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at the last UFC event of 2013 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Weidman retains belt after Silva breaks leg

Corey Hill. That is what went through my mind as Anderson Silva’s shin was shattered on a Chris Weidman leg check.  Many may recall the lanky TUF competitor breaking his leg on an eerily similar

Leg checks are gruesome as it is and Silva’s kick that broke his leg looked like it was right on Weidman’s knee.

It appeared that Weidman may have knocked out Silva in the first but Silva was able to survive round 1 and even bloodied Weidman.  Although Weidman likely won round 1, the fight was still up in the air before the kick despite folks concluding that Weidman would have won the fight.  Weidman did look much improved from July and solidified his standing as the division’s champ.  It appears that Vitor Belfort may be next.  The question is will it be in Vegas or Brazil?

As for Silva, it’s likely the end to his career.  At 38, Silva has had a successful run and should be financially set for the rest of his life.  We may see him in the UFC in some sort of emeritus role but never again in the Octagon fighting.

UFC_168_event_poster

Rousey armbars Tate to retain title

Ronda Rousey submitted Miesha Tate although the challenger put up a fight and was the crowd favorite throughout.  Rousey refused a Tate handshake at the end which solidified her as the heel.

Tate was a heavy underdog and it seemed that surviving the first round was a victory in itself.  Despite not getting armbarred in the first or second round, Rousey was still dominating the match.  Her Judo was exceptional and one has to wonder why attempt to take Rousey to the ground when Tate scored with shots on her feet.

Rousey has a quick turnaround as she fights Sarah McMann on February 22nd.

Some have speculated that the Rousey-McMann fight was made to coincide with the Winter Olympics.  Both were medalists in the Olympics.  The only problem with this theory was that Rousey and McMann competed in the Summer Olympics.

Browne KOs the Warmaster

Travis Browne used his elbows to KO Josh Barnett in what was a mini-upset.  Browne propels himself to a fight with Fabricio Werdum with the fighter likely getting Cain Velasquez.

Attendance and Gate

As announced at the post-fight press conference, it was the second-highest gate for an MMA event in MGM history with 15,650 for a gate of $6.2 million.

Bonuses

Rousey, Tate and Browne were the recipients of the fight night bonuses.  Instead of the standard $50K each, the UFC upped the bonus to $75K.

FOTN – Rousey-Tate

Sub – Rousey

KO – Browne

As we previously pointed out, Jim Miller should have received the Submission of the Night with his slick setup and eventual arm bar of BJJ Black Belt Fabricio Comoes.

Salaries

The Nevada State Athletic Commission revealed the pay of the top 3 fights on the card (via MMA Junkie).  The rest of the card should be made public later this week.

Chris Weidman received a big pay increase in pay in his first title defense.  He received $200K to show and another $200K for the win for a total of $400K.

Silva received $600K and would have made another $200K if he won.

Rousey made $50K/$50K but with another $150K in bonuses she tallied $250K for the night.  Tate made $28K and another $75K for $103K.

Josh Barnett made $170K and Travis Browne made $56K ($28K/$28K) plus his $75K win bonus for a total of $131K.

Raise in PPV Price

One of the surprises that came before the fight was the $5 bump in price for the last PPV of the year.  UFC 168 was the first at $59.99 (HD) and $49.99 (SD).  White indicated that this would be the only time it would raise its price.  However, there is some confusion as to whether the $59.99 will remain in 2014 as the current prices on the UFC web page list UFC 169 an 170 at $59.99 although there are reports the listed price is a mistake.

There were many promotional commercials leading up to 168 that still promoted the PPV as $54.95 although you were likely made known of the price change when you went to order.

The rise in the price could mean more people went to bars to watch the PPV and maybe more fight parties.

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC went all out for UFC 168 with branding all over the MGM Grand including the key cards, slot machines and gaming felt.  I can attest the UFC has done the gaming felt back in the Tito Ortiz days (circa 2006).  Still, the constant reminders of the fight likely helped out.

ESPN got in on the action as it let Dana White take over its twitter and Instagram accounts on Saturday to hype the fight.  The obvious conflict is that White’s company is featured on ESPN’s newest competitor, Fox Sports 1.  The fact White is allowed to promote on ESPN and that ESPN wants White to promote the UFC infers that MMA is legitimately making strides as a sport that is newsworthy (well, except that ESPN got rid of the over the air version of MMA Live).

UFC used FS1 to promote the fight and showed Weidman-Silva I and also aired “Fighting Words” which was an interesting look at the first fight that included audio of the corners that caught what each said to their fighters.  It also included interviews by both fighters and audio from Jon Jones and Urijah Faber at the fight.  While UFC Primetime has been shut down, this show did a great job in recapping events leading up to the rematch.

The Saturday morning edition of Good Morning America did a spot on Ronda Rousey which is a pretty big even if it was the weekend crew of GMA.

Fight Pass

The UFC held a press conference prior to the fights to announce the UFC’s new digital network, the UFC Fight Pass.  More on this later but the sweetener for UFC fans is that it is giving users 2 months free before it charges your credit card $9.99 per month.

Sponsors

Sears was the newest “big” sponsor to the Octagon.  Maybe a “one off” but I’m sure the UFC hopes that it can bring it in as an official sponsor.  Tapout, MusclePharm, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Cinemax’s “Banshee”, Peter Berg’s movie, “Lone Survivor”, WarGaming.net, MetroPCS and Bud Light with the center.

UltimatePoker.com had the prep point outside the cage and AXS TV had the official weigh-ins.

Harley Davidson ran a promotion for its Project Rushmore motorcycles in which the winner of Weidman-Silva would win a motorcycle.

MetroPCS also had a unique activation for this event where twitter users could obtain a “personalized” digital photograph of Ronda Rousey.

Interesting sponsor of the night:  Autoshopper.com.  It was on a number of fighters including Miesha Tate.

1Law.com, a law firm out of Utah picked the right fighter to sponsor as it was on the front of the shorts of Travis Browne as he KO’d Josh Barnett.  It has sponsored Browne in the past.

Monster (an official UFC sponsor) headphones are going to be around more and more heads in the Octagon so get used to them having them on and not listening to anything.

Nike was noticeably absent from Anderson Silva.  When asked by Ariel Helwani in a pre-fight interview, Silva told him to ask Dana.  White deflected comment but it was clear that Nike did not pay or would not pay the sponsor fee for Silva this time around.  To be clear, Nike still sponsors Silva, it’s just that he was not on Silva’s shorts, shirt or banner.

Rousey was sponsored by the UFC in what looked like signature gear.  She was also sponsored by Xyience.

Tate had a number of sponsors including Autoshopper.com, Venum, Affliction and Training Mask.

Silva did have less sponsors this go round.  He had Wizard, Burger King, computer maker Lenovo and soccer club Corinthians Paulista.

Weidman had an assortment of sponsors including Bad Boy Club, Oak Grove Technologies, American Ethanol, Monster and investment firm InCapital.

Post-UFC 168 Headlines

The new faces of the UFC.  Saturday we saw the two new faces of the UFC in Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman.  With GSP and Anderson Silva gone within weeks of each other, Weidman should be marketed as the top UFC guy.  Even though Jon Jones has a fair argument here, his last couple of fights have not equated to PPV success.  Weidman took down the GOAT twice and we will see how long he can defend the belt in this division.

Despite being the “heel” against Miesha Tate, Rousey has the “it” factor that draws people to watch her.  She is brash, dominant and that look of determination walking to the ring would have anyone hiding their arms around her.  The question is whether the fame and time obligations may catch up to her.  With her next fight so close to this one and coming off of shooting two movies, we will see if it catches up with her.

Odds and Ends

-The UFC offered closed circuit of the fight at the MGM for $60 per person.  I do not believe the UFC put this PPV in movie theatres.

-There were over 5 million Google searches for Anderson Silva on Saturday night.  Most searchers likely wanted to see an image of his broken leg.

-It was the first time I recall the main event fighters coming out from different sides of the curtain at the weigh-ins.

-Over 14.6K people were on YouTube at the start of the very first fight which bodes well for viewership for the rest of the card.

-Rumors of Brock Lesnar in Vegas during UFC 168 is reminiscent of the two guards that sat in the courtroom that unnerved Colonel Jessup in “A Few Good Men.”  In other words, the UFC could have just flown Lesnar out to Vegas and create a story that wasn’t there.

-Rousey and Tate are complete opposites and this was most telling in their walkout songs.  Katy Perry (Tate) vs. Joan Jett (Rousey).

-Due to the short fights, there was a lot of downtime and “commercials” and the live fights ended at 9:30pm PT.

-Buried by the main event stories was the second straight impressive win by Michael Johnson on the Prelims.

-Uriah Hall saved his job, while Chris Leben likely heads to retirement.

Marc Jacobs is selling a Ronda Rousey t-shirt.

-Anyone else notice that the broadcast team kept pumping up the odds including right before the Tate-Rousey fight.  That might not be new, but what was new was that it directed people interested in odds to the UFC web site.

Conclusion

The hype for this fight was the biggest this year and the women co-main event had a lot to do with it.  It may be one of the highest HD PPV buys ever.  There was a lot of mainstream buzz for the fight which not always transfers into PPV purchases. But I think the buzz helped.  Despite the protests about the price increase, it will likely not affect the final PPV buys.  An estimation of around 750K PPV buys should be attainable if not surpassed after all is said and done.

UFC going all in for UFC 168 promotion

December 27, 2013

To say that tomorrow’s UFC 168 is an important event for Zuffa this year would be quite the understatement.  In fact, the focus placed on UFC 168 has been so strong that some have argued that it has actually undermined the UFC events in between, which caused them to under perform. We will take a look at some of the numbers and the promotion being put together the week leading up to the event.

UFC_168_event_poster

 

The UFC announced on July 13th, 2013 that the highly anticipated rematch between new Middleweight champion Chris Weidman and MMA legend Anderson Silva would take place on UFC 168, making Rousey vs Tate 2 and incredibly strong co-main event for the casual fans and mainstream. Since that announcement was made, about 5 months before the event was to take place, the UFC made it no secret it would be heavily promoting the event, which include an entire season of TUF dedicated to pitting both coaches on the PPV along with countless of media appearances and press conferences.  To summarize, the UFC has been promoting UFC 168 for five months straight hoping to cash in big at the end of the year.

In that span, the UFC has hosted four PPV events, from UFC 164 to UFC 167, and all have arguably underperformed.  Pettis vs Henderson, the highly anticipated rematch from WEC, which produced the Showtime Kick, drew less than 300,000 buys.  Jon Jones was the first noticeable casualty, drawing his lowest PPV buy rate since becoming champ.  Velasquez/JDS III drew 330,000 viewers while Velasquez/JDS II drew 590,000 the previous year.  GSP’s 630,000 PPV buys are the lowest since UFC 87 in 2008 against Jon Fitch z9 not to mention that it was the UFC’s anniversary event).   All events underperformed, but will the gamble to place most of the attention on UFC 168 for almost half a year pay off? They are certainly betting on it.

UFC 168

????

Weidman-Silva II

UFC167

630,000

GSP-Hendricks

UFC 166

330,000

Velasquez-JDS III

UFC 165

325,000

Jones-Gus

UFC 164

270,000

Henderson-Pettis

 

The UFC has gone all in the week heading into UFC 168 with countless ad spots on FOX Sport properties and key big FOX spots during NFL programming.  The UFC even scored an appearance in Good Morning America this morning. To put it bluntly, a lot of money was spent on promoting UFC 168 and considering that UFC predicted the event would be as big as UFC 100 (1.6M buys), they really had no choice.  Then again, the UFC also bumped up the PPV price by $5 just for this event, hoping to reach UFC 100 levels of revenue even they most likely won’t be able to match the buyrate.  This week, Dana White estimated the gate for UFC 168 to be around $6.3M already, which would place it among the top gates in the company’s history.  It also appears that ESPN is all in for this event, which has historically meant good things for the UFC.

Now, is the event a shoe in to become a huge PPV success? Well, not necessarily.  End of the year between Christmas and New Years has always been a tough sell due to the festivities, new toys, NBA, and CFB Bowl games. UFC 141 hosted a huge main event between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem, two of the biggest and physically gifted athletes in MMA.  Lesnar had been a shoe in for 1M PPV buys for years with the UFC, and adding an opponent like Overeem seemed like a PPV buyrate slam-dunk. Only, it didn’t turn out that way.  The event ended up doing around 535,000 buys, which is nearly half what most expected, though there were a few key differences between that event and UFC 168.  One major factor was holding UFC 141 on December 31st (Friday night) where UFC 168 is being held on the more traditional Saturday night time slot. Lesnar had also lost his belt for that bout for his bout against Overeem after being dominated by Cain Velasquez along with many health concerns.  However you slice it, UFC 168 will be a hugely successful event, though the question of whether it can crack the 1M PPV buyrate which Lesnar and only a couple of other main events have been able to accomplish in the past 5 years is still up in the air.

Lets take a look at some of the promotion:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corona retail promotion is boxers on bottles

June 24, 2013

The Sports Business Journal reports that Corona is affixing faces of familiar fighters on lines of bottles starting in mid-August.  The boxers are Miguel Cotto, Bernard Hopkins, Peter Quillin, Erik Morales, Abner Mares and Danny Garcia.

The fighters will be included in 18-packs in 32 states distributed primarily to Hispanic accounts. The promotion starting in August will run through October.  Three commemorative bottles will be included in the 18 packs.

Via @RealMiguelCotto

Via @RealMiguelCotto

According to the SBJ (subscription required), this will be the first time that Corona will build a retail promotion around boxing.  In a way, Corona’s promotion concedes the fact that Tecate has been successful with its in-store retail promotions (i.e., $25 rebate coupon for certain Pacquiao fights if fans bought Tecate can products).

Corona distributor Crown Imports signed on as a Golden Boy Promotions sponsor and its the company’s first major in-store promotion.  Golden Boy sees the opportunity to activate in 50 states which gives it a bigger reach than Tecate’s previous in-store promotions which were narrowly targeted.

While the promotion seeks to target the Hispanic market with a direct emphasis on Mexican Independence Day in September, the bottles feature two Mexicans (Morales, Mares), two Puerto Ricans (Cotto, Carcia) and two African Americans (BHop, Quillin).

Payout Perspective:

The promotion not only features the fighters but taps into the cultural pride.  Notably, it hopes to capitalize on a fight featuring Miguel Cotto in mid-September.  What about that other fight happening on September 14th between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather?  While it would have made the most sense, there were obstacles from having the two featured on bottles.  First, at 22 years of age, Canelo Alvarez is too young to appear in beer ads per U.S. beer industry rules.  Mayweather declined to appear on the bottles.

While a survey reveals Corona is the preferred imported beer among Hispanics in the U.S., we will see if this promotion aids Golden Boy’s upcoming fights.  Moreover, will the promotion see a return on the costs expended for it.

Rousey stars in new marketing campaign for Insureon

June 13, 2013

Ronda Rousey stars as “The Insureon Protector” in a YouTube video promoting Insureon – an online company specializing in insuring small businesses.  Rousey kicks, punches and uses her trademark armbar in fending off lazy tech support workers.

Payout Perspective:

This is one of the first commercials featuring Rousey since she won the UFC women’s bantamweight title.  According to the Sports Business Daily, the video is the start of a marketing campaign featuring Rousey in a series of videos (presumably as “The Insureon Protector”) as well as an interactive website.  We will see if this catches on for Rousey and if this will lead to bigger deals.

Payout Interview: Elie Deshe of VFD Marketing

March 8, 2013

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with Elie Deshe, a partner at VFD Marketing.  Deshe and his organization represent several UFC fighters including Leonard Garcia, Travis Browne, Clay Guida and Nate and Nick Diaz.  We covered a couple interesting subjects including the Diaz Brothers, agent regulation and working with sponsors.

VFD Marketing is based out of Miami, Florida.  Deshe (the D in VFD) works on the marketing aspects of fighter representation including brand marketing and emerging technologies.  Deshe also works with sponsors. SafeAuto Insurance (a company he previously worked for) and MusclePharm are a couple of the sponsorship deals Deshe and his company have brokered for their representatives.

VFD consists of 6 employees and the company actually has 3 arms with a sports agency, a modeling agency and a media agency.  VFD manages several fighters and serves as marketing agent for others. One client is Nick Diaz.

The interview came at an opportune time as the Nick Diaz-GSP/UFC 158 telephone conference just ended.  VFD Marketing secures sponsorships for the Diaz Brothers.  They are working on deals for Nick for March 16th.

Marketing for the Diaz Brothers

“I don’t think people realize that they’re different people.  They just get lumped in the same category. Love them or hate them, people have an opinion and so long as they are on people’s minds, it makes them marketable.”

Deshe added that it’s not hard to find companies that will work with them.

“All they do is train.  They don’t care about the limelight or attention.  They’re there to fight.  It’s up to us (VFD) to show sponsors the differences between the two. There has been no scenario where a sponsor has said, ‘I like Nate but not Nick.’”

As for sponsors for next week, Deshe said that they will be working up until Thursday night to secure deals for Nick.  Fighter shorts are turned in on Friday and VFD ensures that everything is in the right place.  For Deshe, ensuring “everything is in the right place” may mean making sure the sponsor logos are in the right place on the shorts or banner to whether the logo looks good on television. “Sometimes we’ve said to sponsors to try a different logo to maximize how it looks on TV,” explained Deshe.

Agent Regulation

We asked what he thought of regulating agents that manage fighters.  “It’s a very loose term.  If the UFC had a vetting process of who is an agent and who is not, we wouldn’t have a problem with it. Some of the agents are friends of the guys growing up.  Does that make them qualified?  They may be good on their own merit.”  Deshe stated that fighters could be hurt, “if someone is in it for the wrong reasons.”
UFC sponsor tax

“We get why it’s in place. But we put sponsors in a position to succeed unlike most.  If it was like in the early days, (obtaining sponsorships) it makes a manager’s job easier, but makes it tougher to distinguish who is good.”

Negotiation with sponsors

Deshe stated that negotiating terms of a deal on how much their clients are paid is not the hardest thing.  “The bigger part of it is getting the sponsors on board.  Its about selling the sport to them.  UFC is the best value in sports entertainment from a marketing perspective.  Once on board, the budgets will work.  It’s good to get money for one fight, but if they (sponsors) don’t see value, they won’t come back.”

Deshe commented that a part of working with companies is to ensure that the sponsorship is supported through social media and blog articles among other things.  He also seeks out opportunities outside of the octagon.  Four of VFD’s fighters have appeared in Safe Auto commercials. “Being in the ring is great, it can’t be the only thing to do for these guys,” said Deshe.

How much do sponsors pay

“Ranges are all over the map.  Deals range in the mid to high 6 figures and we’ve done deals in the low four figures. We’ve done everything. That’s why we spend time working with sponsors.  VFD has become a company sponsors want to come to.”

Deshe stated that VFD receives inquiries from companies that want to sponsor fighters and come to them to find out how. “They know we can get them on the right guys, make it look right, get social media support and add value.”

Fighter income between fights

We asked Deshe about how fighters maintain income after a fight is over or before their next fight.  Deshe indicated that there are several ways fighters can supplement their income between fights.  One way is negotiating deals with sponsors which would allow the fighter to receive a monthly payment from the sponsor.  For instance, a deal may consist of sponsoring a fighter over the period of a year and the fighter would be compensated monthly.

There are also the usual opportunities to book appearances, seminars and autograph signings.

Deshe noted the limited time for their fighters to supplement their income.  “There’s not a big window to do all of the things in between.”  They maybe take a couple months off but are usually back in the gym training.

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