May 17, 2011
Round 5 collectibles announced today that it has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with Bruce Lee Enterprises to produce Bruce Lee-themed collectibles, toys and games until 2015.
Via Round 5 press release:
“We are honored to be working with a brand with such a storied legacy as Bruce Lee,” Lau said. “We feel that we can use this opportunity to broaden the reach of both Bruce Lee and Round 5 into the niche collectible and mainstream arenas as there is already so much synergy between our brands.”
Shannon Lee, President & CEO of Bruce Lee Enterprises and daughter of Bruce Lee, believes Round 5 is the perfect partner to carry her father’s legacy into the 21st century.
“We are constantly approached by companies that want to create products under the Bruce Lee name, but we always knew we wanted to wait until we found a company that would adequately compliment my father’s legacy,” said Lee. “We are so very proud to have found Damon Lau and Round 5, we believe that Round 5 will honor my father’s name and create products that will respect his legacy.”
Development on Bruce Lee products has begun and Round 5 expects Lee products by the fall of 2011.
As you may recall, in addition to Bruce Lee, Round 5 has a licensing deal with the UFC. This move helps Round 5 in the combat sports market as Bruce Lee is still a very popular figure amongst fight enthusiasts. For Bruce Lee Enterprises, its a good move considering the work and exposure Round 5 has received working with the UFC.
October 12, 2010
I recently traveled to China with my fellow MBA students at the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center in order to consult with several sports leagues and firms doing business in the country. Not only was the trip very successful for the Warsaw Center, but I’ve personally returned home with a better understanding of the Chinese consumer and the key challenges facing the UFC as it looks towards expansion.
Traits of the Chinese Consumer
- Exceptionally nationalistic
- Historically very conservative, especially where violence in concerned
- The average salary in urban areas is 4,000 RMB/month (~$600)
- A great majority of their entertainment is consumed through free, state-owned television programming
- Increasingly influenced by consumer trends in Japan and the US
- Possess global aspirations in all walks of life; money, cars, clothes, etc.
While in China, I very much got the sense that the country is in the midst of a culture shift; much in the same way that the country has experienced somewhat of a paradigm shift regarding its political and economic ideologies. The rapid development of China’s economy and underlying infrastructure (in most areas) has generated tremendous wealth, but it’s also provided the Chinese with a sort of global aspiration: they want – and can now afford – what everyone else has (i.e., fast cars, fancy clothes, and good entertainment).
The traditional Chinese values pertaining to face, family, and country are still very much in place. However, the added element now is a young Gen Y group with the confidence, ambition, and wherewithal to adapt those core values to the Western world.
1. Chinese conservatism
Despite China’s storied martial arts history and emerging cultural thaw, MMA will not be an easy sell in the country. The Chinese are still by and large a conservative and risk-averse group of consumers led by an extremely protective and controlling government. MMA is a very aggressive and violent sport that’s easily misunderstood.
The biggest challenge for the UFC in China will be obtaining buy-in at the governmental level. If it cannot cultivate key relationships within the government it can forget about television coverage, live event permits, and any sort of merchandising initiative. The Chinese still follow the cultural lead of the government in many ways, and if the government decides to throw its weight behind something, not only does that something get done, but people tend to take notice pretty quickly.
2. Revenue generation
The next biggest challenge relates to the UFC’s business model. Nearly 75% of the UFC’s revenue is event-related, but China is neither a PPV market or a significant spectator market.
The Chinese consume a great deal of their sports through free, state-owned television programming and are reluctant to pay for what they’ve always had for free – even despite the increase in the number of set-top boxes in the country. Various different sports properties have tried PPV or subscription models in the last couple years, but each have failed (including a group that bought the rights to the EPL for three years at some $70m and fell into bankruptcy two years into the deal).
The fact that it’s far more easy and cost-effective for the Chinese to stay at home and watch an event for free makes them less inclined to watch live, especially in the densely crowded and difficult to navigate urban areas. The high rate of television consumption contributes to the lackluster live-game experience at most sporting events, which in turn provides even less incentive for fans to attend. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
Nearly every sporting event taken to China has struggled at the gate – the Olympics, F-1, ATP, European TOUR, etc. In many cases the government often resorts to hiring groups of people or assigning army units to attend events as paid spectators just to beef up the look of the event for global television audiences. It’s a very difficult ticket sales market.
Perhaps the best way to be successful is to play on Chinese aspirations for the consumption of world class goods and services. If the UFC brings its best and brightest to China and sells it as such, it may gain an audience on the merit of simply providing its best offering to the country. It would be seen as a sign of respect to which reciprocation is almost guaranteed as a matter of courtesy and obligation.
In the late 1980s, the Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, crossed the Pacific and sat in the lobby of the CCTV HQ with a box of tapes on his lap looking to accomplish one thing: get his product on television. More than 20 years later, basketball and the NBA have finally started to take hold.
There are many reasons for the NBA’s success in China – it wasn’t just Yao Ming – but perhaps the most important is the combination of effort and money over the period of the last 20+ years. If you look at the current foreign sports landscape in China, the most successful organizations are all those that have spent a good chunk of time in the country. I do not think this is coincidence.
This third challenge is one borne of patience. Is the UFC willing to make the necessary investments — concessions on rights fees to get on TV, localized manpower to cultivate government relationships, and enduring rather high opportunity costs to put on live events — in a market that isn’t likely to provide a solid return for at least another five years?
The above three considerations are probably the biggest challenges facing the UFC in China, but it will also have to contend with a variety of other issues to establish itself in the country:
- Navigating the sometimes very different distribution infrastructure within the country
- Protecting its intellectual property
- Implementing or supporting a national development program
Check back next week where I’ll expand a little further on China by taking a look at what I see to be the UFC’s roadmap for success in the country.
September 7, 2010
The fastest growing sport in the world just got put on an even faster track to mainstream awareness and one step closer to Madison Ave’s biggest dollars after one of the biggest brand licensing companies have jumped directly into the deep end of the mixed martial arts’ pool.
Authentic Brands Group LLC, a company with a giant global footprint in the worlds of apparel, consumer electronics and action sports has today announced the acquisition of TapouT, TapouT MPS, Silver Star Casting Company, Iron Star and Hitman Fight Gear to it’s portfolio, which also includes the Bob Marley Brands, among dozens of others.
In today’s press release, Authentic Brands Group’s Chairman & CEO Jamie Salter said, “This sport is still in its infancy. We strategically chose these acquisitions as our first big move because we’re getting into the right business at the right time. We’re looking forward to working with the best brands and the best athletes in the world as we transition these two companies into global lifestyle brands with our retail and licensing partners.”
In his first interview since the announcement, Silver Star president and founder Luke Burrett tells me the deal took about nine months to close, and it’s going to be mean big things for MMA fans.
“Authentic Brands Group is a brand development and licensing company. In conjunction with Leonard Green & Partners, our mandate is to acquire, manage and build long-term value in prominent consumer brands,” says Burrett, who will maintain his title for the Silver Star and Iron Star brands.
He said ABG’s overall strategy for the brands is to become a full licensing model.
“The beauty of a full licensing model from the consumer standpoint is that the products get better – at least it will with us because our internal mandate is to work with the best in class licensees,” said Burrett. “Its a simple formula really, the best brands work with the best licensees and best retailers. Plus, we have rigorous rules and regulations for our licensees – we literally approve every single product, ad, you name it. Because of this strategy, each partner gets to do what they do best, and we can focus on what we do best – and that’s marketing and building a brand.
That means TapouT’s Punkass and Skyskrape, along with Luke’s wife, Charis Burrett, will continue to be mainstays on the MMA scene, although today’s press release makes no mention of TapouT chairman Marc Kreinert.
Burrett says the acquisition of his company has always been part of his and wife Charis’ strategy.
“In business, every company reaches a point where they need to make the best decision for the company,” he said. “Charis and I have put many years into Silver Star and still have a lot of passion for the brand! ABG is the right partner and we look forward to a great future. This acquisition will strengthen every facet of Silver Star, not just MMA, so we look to our partnership with ABG to take the company to the next level in all of areas,” he said.
Silver Star sponsors UFC Middleweight champ Anderson Silva and fan favorite Clay Guida, and has had deals in place at one time or another with the likes of Georges St. Pierre and Jon Bones Jones.
The buzz about the ABG acquisitions, which may include more brands in the near future (think Sinister), was loud at last month’s UFC Fan Expo, where guys like Burrett, Skrape and Punkass were noticeably more relaxed than usual, with representatives from ABG doing most of the heavy lifting this time around.
“Since we are now going into a licensing model, I will have more time to work with our athletes and the marketing direction of the brand,” he said.
September 6, 2010
On this Labor Day, MMA Payout takes a look at how much of your hard-earned money you can spend on being a fan.
UFC 118 was the company’s sixth of the year with four more to go. PPVs buys are an essential part of UFC’s growth. With the internet and hype shows on SpikeTV like UFC Countdown, Prelims and Weigh-Ins, the UFC does a great job of enticing fans to buy PPVs. The addition of UFC Fight Night, UFC on Versus and The Ultimate Fighter expose the casual fan to the sport and to fighters. Through the exposure, fans draw interest in certain fighters and understand the nuances of MMA.
On DirecTV, UFC PPVs have a price point of $54.95 plus tax if you purchase the PPV in HD. If not, you save $10 as non-HD is $49.95.
In addition, the WEC held its first PPV this spring. It had a price point of $49.95 to view in HD.
To purchase all 10 UFC PPVs in HD would be $549.50. Add on the WEC PPV and you have spent over $600 on PPVs from Zuffa.
In addition to UFC PPVs, there are other MMA PPVs available for purchase. If you don’t have Showtime, you could have purchased the Strikeforce Houston show for $24.95. The upcoming Noons vs. Diaz fight will be available on PPV for $24.95
Shine Fights has an upcoming PPV available for $29.95 on September 10th. On September 11th, Shark Fights features UFC alums Keith Jardine and Houston Alexander on PPV. As of today, Direct TV lists Shine Fights available for purchase but not Shark Fights PPV.
Watching the PPVs, you can see many fans with fighter merchandise. Frankie Edgar’s walkout t-shirt from Affliction list price is $57.99. Edgar’s t-shirt is at the top of the price point. Only Rampage Jackson’s walkout t-shirt against Rashard Evans also listed at the astronomical price of $58. BJ Penn’s t-shirt for UFC 118 went for $26.99. Most start at $29.99 and up.
If you are into shorts, fight shorts are available online and range from $49.99 to $69.99.
If you want to attend a UFC live, you will need to pay a hefty price. According to ticketmaster, UFC 118 ticket prices ranged from $75 to $600. MMA Mania has a good look at the difference between UFC ticket prices for UFC 118 and 119. For the big Velasquez v. Lesnar fight at UFC 120 in Anaheim, the ticket prices range from $92.75 to $527.
In comparison to the PPVs, seats for September 15th’s UFC Ultimate Fight Night on SpikeTV range from $30 to $185.
The annual expense of being an MMA fan can put a chokehold on your budget. For the casual fan, purchasing PPVs will be based on the promotion surrounding the matches (see Toney vs. Couture) and the draw of the fighter (see Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar, GSP). With BJ Penn out of the lightweight picture for now, there is debate as to whether Edgar can carry a main event PPV against his next opponent, Gray Maynard. However, I’d expect that the UFC would find compelling storylines in the runup to the fight to sell Edgar vs. Maynard.
Since the evolution of T-Shirt companies like Tapout, the popularity of MMA t-shirts has grown. However, paying $58 for a Frankie Edgar t-shirt is a steep price. It would be interesting to see the sales of Edgar’s shirt versus Penn’s UFC 118 t-shirt. Even though Penn lost, you could have bought two of his t-shirt for the price of one Edgar shirt.
An MMA fan could spend close t0 $1,000 on buying MMA PPVs and a couple t-shirts. If you go to a UFC event, you will spend much more (considering travel, hotel and tickets).
As disposable incomes shrink, MMA fans will become much more frugal with their purchases. This will put a greater emphasis on the quality of PPV and the popularity of the fighter.
September 2, 2010
About a month ago, MMAPayout detailed some of Strikeforce’s big plans for the fall, that not only included a big October show, but the release of EA Sports MMA, a new branding strategy, and also the release of their 2 disc DVD set scheduled for October 12.
Strikeforce fans who have been patiently wondering when Strikeforce would be releasing their fights to fans on some form of media will soon get their opportunity. Amazon.com, Walrmat, BestBuy and other retailers are now accepting pre-orders for and upcoming 2 disc DVD release titled “Strikeforce MMA”, at the moment starring Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelienenko, Robbie Lawler, Brett Rogers, Andrei Arlovski, and “Babalu” Sobral will contain 6 hours of content produced by Showtime Entertainment. The listing price will be around $20-25 dollars and will be releasing on October 12, just a few days after the October 9th San Jose event. Interesting to note that Jake Shields was set to be featured in the DVD release before he signed to the UFC, so it will be interesting to see how much, if any, focus is placed on him.
August 13, 2010
John Morgan of MMAJunkie recently caught up with WEC General Manager Reed Harris to discuss the up-coming WEC card and talk DVD sales.
“The first step was doing the show, and the WEC pay-per-view in Sacramento was an absolute success,” Harris said. “The DVD has been selling really, really well. It’s got some behind-the-scenes stuff, which is interesting, but also it’s got obviously the (Urijah) Faber and (Jose) Aldo fight.
“The whole event, it put WEC on the map. We were on the map before, but a lot of new eyeballs came to the show.”
The WEC is entering a critical phase in its development. Its first PPV was a roaring success, but it needs to prove that it can sustain and build upon the interest it generated in the Spring. The company received a pass for the television performance of WEC 49, because it was largely expected that stacking Aldo-Faber for the PPV would leave it without many strong draws for an immediate follow-up. Varner vs. Shalorus was a less than compelling, especially in comparison to what fans got at 48.
However, the grace period is now over. The performances of WEC 50 and WEC 51 will be fairly critiqued to gauge how much the PPV accomplished on behalf of the brand in the short term. In other words, these cards should give us an idea of whether or not the WEC is capable of making a significant jump up in popularity or whether it still needs some time to develop its brand and fighters.
Regardless of this immediate outcome, one thing is certain: the boys at the WEC have put together two very strong cards in attempt to sustain the company’s momentum. WEC 50 is a solid card that features a title fight (Cruz and Benavidez) in addition to a host of intriguing match-ups – it could very well be Chad Mendes’ coming out party. WEC 51 is an even more impressive offering that features Aldo vs. Gamburyan and Varner vs. Cerrone, plus the additions of Miguel Torres, Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung.
WEC 50 and 51 are the types of events that should sell. I just hope we see a marketing effort from Zuffa commensurate with the quality of the cards. That means digital promo videos, numerous articles and PR releases, social media promotion through Twitter and Facebook, and even some ad placement on Spike and Versus.
August 9, 2010
Collective Licensing International (CLI) has quietly inked a deal with Dan Henderson’s MMA apparel and gear company, Clinch Gear. If you recall, CLI also inked a licensing deal with Strikeforce just a few months before, which was announce around the Nashville CBS event which took place on April 17. Here is an excerpt from the press release:
Collective Licensing International (CLI) 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 through 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.
In a similar press release announcing a deal between Above The Rim and CLI, Clinch Gear was shown as one of their Brand management/licensing acquisitions:
About Collective Licensing International, LLC Collective Licensing International, a subsidiary of Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS), was formed in January 2004 and is the owner and/or license operator of Airwalk(R), Above The Rim(R), Vision Street Wear(R), Clinch Gear(TM), STRIKEFORCE(TM), Sims(R), Lamar(R) and LTD(R), World Snowboarding Championships(TM), genetic(R), Dukes(TM), Rage(R), Ultra-Wheels(R), and Hind(R). Collective Licensing International is based in Englewood, Colorado. www.collectiveintl.com
As to why Collective Licensing International appears to be focusing more on MMA recently, IndustryWatch gives us a great recap on the strategic move:
Consistent with strategic focus on youth sports and lifestyle, CLI recently entered mixed martial art space, fastest growing sport in country. Over 28,000 martial art studios offer training to more than 18m Americans, most of whom purchase equipment and supply. Mixed martial arts viewership in millions. Event attendance is breaking records. CLI signed new master license agreement with leading mixed marital arts promotion co., STRIKEFORCE and acquired Clinch Gear, premier performance apparel equipment brands led by mixed martial arts legend, Dan Henderson. Sees mixed martial arts as growth category for CLI.
Video of the new and improved Clinch Gear office facilities:
Clinch Gear New Promotional video featuring Strikeforce fighters: Dan Henderson, Fedor Emelianenko, Mike Kyle, Bobby Voelker, Cung Le, & Sarah Kaufman plus Bellator fighters: Joe Warren & Bryan Baker.
One of the benefits and main selling points which attributed to Dan Henderso’s exodus from the UFC was having the option to sign with Strikeforce, which has TV partners CBS/Showtime and video game giant EA Sports to use as channels to promote his apparel and equipment brand, Clinch Gear, outside of the UFC. Since Henderson’s involvement with CBS and Strikeforce, his apparel line has played a big role in Strikeforce and CBS/Showtime broadcasts, sponsoring the “Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum” event by having their brand on the mat and signing top MMA HW Fedor to walk into the cage in a customized Clinch Gear walkout-tee, after a last minute deal fell through between M-1 and Tapout. Beyond sponsoring key fighters like Fedor Emelianenko and other Team Quest fighters in Strikeforce, Clinch Gear has also expanded their sponsoring efforts by signing fighters in multiple promotions all over the world such as Bellator and DREAM. The flexibility that Clinch Gear now has to expand and take a bigger role within the MMA landscape outside of the UFC seems to be paying off, but was it the correct decision in the long run?
Does having more visibility within the MMA casual fan base (UFC) but paying Zuffa a sponsorship fee and working to meet their eligible sponsor guidelines or does having more flexibility to expand your business and take a bigger role within the non-Zuffa MMA landscape, which include their partners (Strikeforce, Showtime/CBS, EA Sports) payoff in the long run? Zuffa appears to be heading towards banning sponsors from participating with other MMA promotions and/or fighters outside of Zuffa who they deem are competitors. The described situation poses a dilemma and strategic dichotomy for sponsors within the MMA industry, a now common conflict which has reached several boiling points within the past few years (RVCA, Affliction, Tapout, Clinch Gear, Booya, MMA Authentics, etc). Some brands like Affliction have taken their losses and were able to cut a deal to get back into the UFC, Tapout and RVCA were able to drop their sponsorship deals with Fedor to stay in the UFC’s good graces, and others like Booya, MMA Authentics, and Clinch Gear have been permanently banned from the promotion.
August 5, 2010
Though not much has been heard from Strikeforce beyond their big upcoming shows this month which include the women’s 135 lbs GP in their Challengers 10 event from Phoenix and big card from Strikeforce Houston featuring King Mo vs Feijao Cavalcante and Tim Kennedy vs Jacare Souza for the vacant Middleweight belt, they have plans to make a huge impact in the MMA landscape in the Fall.
- Planned Early October Strikeforce Event in San Jose, CA on October 9
Strikeforce is planning an October show (October 9th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA) which is rumored to possibly hold the first round of their MW Tournament. Highly touted Strikeforce prospect, Luke Rockhold (7-1), is looking to make his long awaited return to the cage in his hometown and could be a dark-horse.
This show could also host a rumored bout between Dan Henderson and Babalu Sobral, which would most likely be a co-main event. Strikeforce is also in talks with CBS to broadcast an event around the fall, and is hopeful that they can rebound nicely from their April CBS event which was marred by uninspiring ratings and the brawl at the end of the telecast. Both October and November have been discussed as possible months to host the event. Scott Coker talks to the Las Vegas Sun about the possible LHW bouts:
“Dan Henderson and I had a conversation after LA and he wants to move up to 205,” Coker said. “That led us to think the next fight for Dan will be either Babalu or Gegard Mousasi.
“Calvacante just had an impressive win over Antwain Britt so he deserves the shot. I think the winner of Dan and Babalu or Dan and Gegard could face the winner of that title fight.”
As a main event, Strikeforce is in dialogue with Fedor’s management (M-1) and is also in talks with Strikeforce HW champ Alistair Overeem, but a matchup involving both fighters is not yet certain. What we do know is that Fabricio Werdum will not be able to compete until early 2011, so that leaves match-ups with the rising HW out of the picture for the rest of the year. Herschel Walker and fighters such as Mayhem Miller, Matt Lindland, Nick Diaz, and other MW tourney hopefuls are expected for the show.
- Strikeforce MMA DVD Estimated Release Set for October 12
Strikeforce fans who have been patiently wondering when Strikeforce would be releasing their events or non-televised bouts to their fans will soon get their opportunity. Amazon.com and BestBuy is now accepting pre-orders for and upcoming 2 disc DVD release titled “Strikeforce MMA”, at the moment starring Alistair Overeem and Jake Shields and will contain 6 hours of content produced by Showtime Entertainment. The listing price is $20.99 and will be releasing on October 12, which is just a few days after their October event is rumored to take place.
Here is what Strikeforce said about the release:
It will be particular fights from 2010 and some added never before seen footage that our hard-core fans will enjoy.
- EA Sports MMA Release Set for October 19
The release of the EA Sports MMA video game is something that both EA and Strikeforce have been anticipating for quite some time. The excitement and synergy between both groups was apparent during E3, and both have high hopes for their video game release, hoping that it could be as influential and monumental as UFC Undisputed 2009 was for the UFC and THQ. The game is set for release on October 19th on both the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 platforms. Pre-orders of the game, which gives fans exclusive content like Herschel Walker, can now be placed at GameStop, Amazon.com, Walmart, and Best Buy.
EA Sports has slowly announced fighters in their video game roster for months, leading up to their release date which is now only a couple months away and around the time of a planned CBS event, which should create buzz for the title release. Here is their latest announcement regarding complete roster reveal dates leading up to the release date:
Complete roster reveal by weight class starts 8/9 with heavyweights at easports.com/mma…..new update each Monday in August.
October will be a huge month for Strikeforce’s future, pulling all their big guns and hoping to make a permanent mark in the MMA landscape. The release of DVD set, a video game, and working for their return to CBS prime-time programming is all crucial in terms of their relevance in the MMA landscape, increasing brand awareness, and creating stars in their roster.
Strikeforce signing a deal with Collective Licensing International (CLI), which is now the manager of the Strikeforce brand and provides the rights to license and produce merchandising like footwear, apparel, accessories, and equipment will also be a key component to their growth. It will be interesting to see how that partnership benefits Strikeforce in the upcoming year and beyond, along with their other partners.
May 24, 2010
American Kickboxing Academy has announced that it will officially begin its licensing program at this weekend’s UFC Expo that coincides with UFC 114 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The American Kickboxing Academy® is going to present opportunities to license its federally registered trademark at the UFC® Fan Expo™ on May 28-29 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Several American Kickboxing Academy® team members will make appearances at AKA™’s booth, including undefeated heavyweight sensation Cain Velasquez, welterweight number one contender Josh Koscheck, and fan favorites Jon Fitch and Mike Swick. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase AKA™ apparel and collect autographs, as well as to win autographed items through contests. Clients interested in licensing opportunities will have the chance to discuss ways to partner with AKA™, including affiliated training facilities and product licensing.
I can’t help but feel as though we’re finally starting to see a bit of a business evolution within the mixed martial arts industry. Some of these companies have realized that they have valuable properties with significant exploitable potential; and, as a result, they’re now moving to license or sell those properties to earn extra revenue. We saw it first with the UFC’s merchandising and collectibles initiatives – and many would argue that they took too long to do that – and now we’re seeing brands like Tapout and AKA explore more opportunities than what are just immediately in front of them.
April 15, 2010
Part of the UFC’s push towards a more diversified set of revenue streams has involved an emphasis on merchandising over the last 12-18 months, and one of the deals it signed was with trading card company Topps. The two company’s engineered a promotional contest to help drive interest and sales in the card series in which the purchaser of a triple autographed card (Dana, Chuck, and Tito) would win a trip to Vegas and a day with Dana White.
UFC FAN FINDS GOLD AND WINS DREAM TRIP
Topps announces UFC Super fan Alfonso Rodriguez of Melrose Park, IL is the first to find the special triple autograph card featuring Dana White, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz from packs of the all-new Topps UFC Main Event.
Rodriguez and a guest will receive an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas to be Dana White’s guest at the UFC Training Center. While there, they will tour the gym, meet the coaches and contestants from hit Spike TV show, The Ultimate Fighter Season 12, and sit cage side with Dana during one of the TUF preliminary matches.
Topps created 10 of these unique cards, which were randomly inserted into packs. Nine other lucky fans finding this card will receive a pair of UFC gloves signed by Dana, Chuck, and Tito. Fans finding the card should e-mail ? UFCprize@topps.com to claim their prize.
The trading card industry may not be as prevalent as it once was – many things are to blame: the internet, video games, etc. – but it still represents a solid niche market within the overall sports merchandising industry. Promotions like this one are needed to drive interest and a way to drive fan affinity in both brands.
These deals are slowly starting to build up.