Air Asia announces it will take over red corner at UFC 229

October 4, 2018

UFC sponsor Air Asia has announced a deal where it will have a presence in the Octagon as part of the red corner.  The partnership activation begin this Saturday at UFC 229.

Via press release:

In the lead up to this colossal event,  AirAsia’s cabin crew will join UFC’s Octagon Girls on stage during the official ceremonial weigh-ins, as one of the many highlights of a UFC fight week which sees thousands of fans in attendance and millions watching around the world.

Through this multi-facetted partnership, AirAsia will extend its brand presence on a global scale with asset integration across UFC’s social, digital, and Pay-Per-View broadcast of the event.

It will continue with its activation in lead-up to November’s inaugural Beijing, China show where it will have a UFC-branded airplane and fly to Beijing during the event’s fight week.

Payout Perspective:

The sponsorship activation is one of many we should see this Saturday as UFC 229 will be the biggest event in the company’s history if you believe the PPV projections.  Taking over the red  corner with signage during the event ensures its logo will be seen through almost every fight of the event which aids its brand awareness.

UFC-BIXLER announce licensing deal for athlete-inspired jewelry

September 26, 2018

The UFC announced a multi-year licensing agreement with BIXLER, North America’s First Jeweler.  The deal grants Bixler the rights to manufacture and distribute the UFC and MMA athlete-inspired jewelry in the United States and Canada as well as worldwide via the UFC Store online.

IMG negotiated the partnership on behalf of the UFC.

Via UFC press release:

This collaboration, which launches today [Tuesday], offers an expansive selection of rings, cufflinks, necklaces, bracelets and earrings for men and women. With prices starting as low as $89, the initial product offering will include the following collections:

• UFC Elements, featuring UFC colors and stackable designs;
• UFC Classics, featuring the UFC signature logo and glove icon;
• UFC Octagon®, featuring the iconic shape and design elements;
• UFC 25th Anniversary, limited edition designs;

Designs include subtle engravings and gemstones such as ruby, white sapphire, light citrine, and black and white diamonds to accentuate the pieces. Sterling silver styles, finished in black rhodium plating, with black onyx elements offer a modern and masculine edge to the men’s collections.

The launch will coincide with UFC 229 as the UFC and Bixler will unveil collections featuring eagle designs for Khabib Nurmagomedov and Irish pieces designed for Conor McGregor.

Payout Perspective:

I’m not sure the level of interest this will garner but this definitely is a niche area.  $89 is not expensive when it comes to jewelry.  Then again, you have to be a big fan to get UFC-inspired jewelry.

UFC 228: Payout Perspective

September 12, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 228 which took place at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

Woodley submits Till

Tyron Woodley used a D’arce Choke to earn his BJJ Black Belt and retain his UFC welterweight belt.  Woodley submitted Darren Till and earned a performance bonus.  Despite the belief by many that Till was the contender to dethrone Woodley, the champion had little difficulty with him.

Next up for Woodley looks to be Colby Covington.

Mottano stripped of title

The second title of the evening was scrapped due to Nicco Montano being sent to the hospital presumably as a result of trying to cut weight.  As a result, her fight with Valentina Shevchenko was taken off the card and Dana White stripped the TUF winner of her flyweight title.  Shevchenko will have the opportunity to fight for the flyweight title at a yet to be determined date.

Stripping Mottano of the title hurts her pay scale since she now will receive only $3,500 from the Reebok Outfitting Policy.  As the champion, Mottano (who never defended the title) would have made $40,000.

Attendance and Gate

The event drew 14,073 for a gate of $1.7 million at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.  There have been 5 PPVs in Dallas and of that UFC 228 was the lowest gate of the 5 held there since UFC 103.

Bonuses

There were a variety of finishes and stoppage for UFC 228 that could have received the $50,000 bonus.  Woodley, Jessica Andrade and Irena Aldana and Lucie Pudilova earned the bonuses.

Ratings

The UFC 228 Prelims on FX were the lowest of the year drawing only 560,000 viewers and peaking with 683,000 viewers.

The prefight show on FX averaged 271,000 viewers according to Nielsen.

The post-fight show on FS1 drew 64,000 viewers.

Sponsors

Fight week saw the announcement of 3 new “Official” UFC sponsors.  Nemiroff became the “Official Vodka of the UFC,” P3 became the “Official Protein Bar of the UFC,” and Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum became the “Official Rum of the UFC” in the US.  Nemiroff and P3 were in the Octagon for UFC 228.  Also in the Octagon was Motel 6, MetroPCS, Modelo, Toyo Tires, Harley-Davidson the movie Predator was also featured and Monster Energy had the middle of the Octagon.

The movie, Predator also sponsored the Embedded episodes.

Toyo Tires sponsored the backstage interview which was seen on Facebook.

Odds and ends


The visual seems to tell the story that most BJJ practitioners know. It’s hard to be awarded black belt in jiu jitsu.

If you watched the Embedded episodes, you may have noticed Woodley wearing a CbdMD shirt which one might infer, he is a sponsor.  In fact, the company sent out a PR release congratulating him.  I’m sure this is something that Woodley and his camp have looked into and ensuring that he does not cross the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

One of the judges in the Esparza-Suarez fight mistook Suarez for Esparza in the first round and gave Esparza, not Suarez a 10-8.

Xbox put out a tweet gaging interest in the event.

By the way, what was up with the poster? I realize that Till is taller but did they have to make him look like a giant?

This is an ominous tweet with a quote from Shevchenko’s manager.

One might infer that Shevchenko was not paid her fight purse or her win bonus for making weight despite her opponents’ trouble. Once again, this is an overarching issue that manager’s must handle in the contract. Until there is a union, association and/or collective bargaining unit that will address this situation, the athletes are at the mercy of the UFC.

There was a Fan Experience held in Dallas prior to UFC 228 with numerous sponsors and athletes:

There were over 200,000 google searches for Tyron Woodley Saturday.  On Friday, there were over 200,000 google searches for UFC 228.

Conclusion

UFC 228 was an entertaining event with a lot of finishes including Tyron Woodley making it known that he is one of the top UFC stars in the company.  But, going up against two other boxing events on the same night may have hurt PPV purchases.  Also, the big GGG-Canelo fight occurring the following week may have detracted the casual fan on a budget from purchasing this PPV.  It would appear that this event is likely to have drawn around 175,000 to 200,000 PPV buys.

UFC announces “Official Protein Snack of the UFC”

September 7, 2018

The UFC has announced P3 Portable Protein Pack as the “Official Protein Snack of the UFC.”  It is the third announcement of a new sponsor and sponsorship category this week.

The press release reads:

P3 Portable Protein Snacks deliver a tasty combination of meat, cheese, nuts, and fruits, all in one portable pack. They come in multiple varieties and sizes, all offering a convenient way for consumers to get their protein. Oscar Mayer established the Adult Snacking segment withP3 in 2014, and since its launch, the P3 brand has successfully built awareness and has grown in popularity with consumers. They are widely distributed in retail grocery and convenience stores across the country. The UFC partnership will further expand awareness to a new and coveted loyal MMA fan base.

Under the terms of this partnership, P3 will have a branded presence inside the world-famous Octagon® at select UFC events for the remainder of the year. Additional partnership activations will include the integration of P3 branding throughout UFC’s telecasts, digital media campaigns, and Fight Week integrations. At select participating retail locations, P3 displays will feature images of UFC athletes and official UFC logos at point of sale.

The first P3 activation with UFC will begin on Saturday, September 8, with UFC® 228: WOODLEY vs. TILL, featuring the highly anticipated welterweight championship bout that will see Tyron Woodley defend against undefeated No.2-ranked contender Darren Till.

Payout Perspective:

The announcement finishes a week where the UFC announced 3 new sponsors and categories.  It looks like Endeavor is swiftly moving to secure sponsors.  This may be in part to UFC 229 next month which stands to be a huge PPV for the company.  But, for the company it will get a lot of visibility with the coveted young demo of the UFC.

Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum is named the “Official Rum of the UFC” in the United States

September 5, 2018

The UFC has announced a new marketing partnership agreement with Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum making it the “Official Rum of the UFC” in the United States.

The brand is owned by Heaven Hill Brands, America’s largest independent family-owned and operated distilled spirits company.  It appears that the partnership will start with activation around the UFC 25th Anniversary event in November.  However, the UFC and Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum will be co-branded at retail point of sale materials in locations across the U.S. and in various digital and social media ads.

Via UFC press release sent Wednesday:

As part of this collaboration, Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum will have a branded presence inside the world-famous Octagon® and at UFC VIP Experiences during key events throughout 2018-2019, beginning with UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: EDGAR vs. KOREAN ZOMBIE. The event, which takes place on Saturday, November 10, at Pepsi Center in Denver, will be the focus of attention as it also marks UFC’s historic 25thanniversary celebration. The fast-growing Spiced Rum brand will also be integrated across multiple UFC-based social and digital platforms.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

 Payout Perspective:

A day after the UFC announced its “Official Vodka of the UFC,” it now has a Rum.  Based on the qualifier that it is the “Official Rum of the UFC” in the United States, we may see the UFC sell the assets internationally as well.  As we highlighted yesterday, these new sponsorship categories were made possible after Bud Light’s beer sponsorship lapsed.  This should bring in additional revenue for the company which value has increased according to Dana White.

UFC announces Nemiroff as Official Vodka sponsor

September 4, 2018

The UFC announced its first-ever Official Vodka Partner as Nemiroff becomes the “Official Vodka” of the UFC in a new sponsorship category for the company.

In return, Nemiroff will have a branded presence inside the Octagon starting with UFC 228 this Saturday.

Via the UFC press release:

“We’re excited that Nemiroff is joining us as UFC’s first-ever global Vodka partner,” said Paul Asencio, UFC Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships. “The alcohol and spirits categories continue to be an important component of our sponsorship business, and Nemiroff’s global popularity will help us grow UFC’s brand and the sport of MMA around the world.”

Additional partnership activations will include the integration of Nemiroff branding throughout UFC’s telecasts, as well as sampling, digital media, and other promotional opportunities. Through UFC’s worldwide programming distribution, Nemiroff’s brand exposure has the potential to reach 1.1 billion TV households in more than 160 countries and territories in 40 different languages.

Nemiroff was one of the first enterprises in Ukraine with foreign investment in the production of vodka.  It was established in 1992.  Production is based in Namyriv and was established on the place of a distillery that existed from 1872 specializing in the production of horylka.

Payout Perspective:

You may recall that when Bud Light was the official beer for the UFC it blocked potential liquor/spirit sponsorships.  With Nemiroff as the “Official Vodka” it’s likely we could see more official spirits of the UFC.  It’s a growing industry that is tailored for the younger demo of the UFC.

UFC official sponsor, BodyArmor receives big investment from Coca Cola

August 16, 2018

UFC official sponsor BodyArmor is receiving an influx of case thanks to soft drink maker Coca Cola.  It is buying a stake in BodyArmor making it the second-biggest stakeholder in the company.

The deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, allows Coca-Cola to take a full ownership of the startup company which lists Kobe Bryant as one of its backers.  Bryant’s invested $6 million in the company in 2014 and since the acquisition by Coca-Cola, the former NBA champ’s shares are now worth $200 million.  UFC bantamweight Cody Garbrandt is also a sponsor of the drink.

Coca-Cola’s investment in BodyArmor is an attempt to cut into PepsiCo-owned Gatorade’s dominance in the market.  It sells its sports drink as healthier and recruited younger athletes to appeal to the demo.

The deal with the UFC is one of the tactics in which it seeks to promote the drink to a younger demo.

The WSJ states that the U.S. sports drink market is about $8 billion in with Gatorade having about ¾ of the market. BodyArmor is expected to have about $400 million in revenue this  year and could be valued between $1-$2 billion.

Payout Perspective:

The sponsorship deal between BodyArmor and the UFC seems to be a good match in terms of growth.  The Official Sports Drink of the UFC is looking toward international distribution and we could look to see its signage in the cage for overseas event.  It is also seeking to grab a foothold in the younger demo and sponsoring UFC events should help with its visibility and promotion.  If Coca-Cola were to attain full ownership, it would benefit BodyArmor and perhaps lure the brand to the UFC.

UFC 227: Payout Perspective

August 7, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 227 taking place in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.  The show featured two championship fights with one title change.

Dillashaw retains title in stoppage of Garbrandt

T.J. Dillashaw successfully defended his UFC Bantamweight title over Cody Garbrandt with a first round stoppage of the former champion.  Dillashaw is now 2-0 over his former stable mate.

Cejudo wins split decision over Mighty Mouse to end Johnson’s reign

Henry Cejudo’s wrestling was the key in a split decision victory over Demetrious Johnson to win the UFC Flyweight title.  Cejudo’s several takedowns and ability to pin down Johnson likely earned him the narrow victory.  Johnson indicated that he suffered a broken book and knee injury during the fight.  Still, the former champ almost pulled out the victory.

Johnson’s loss is his first since October 2011.  He successfully defended the title 11 times prior to this defeat and has to be considered as one of the greatest title runs ever in the UFC.

Attendance and Gate

The event was a sellout at Staples Center with 17,794 in attendance for a gate of $2.85 million.

Bonuses

Dillashaw, Cejudo, Johnson and Renato Moicano earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Dillashaw and Moicano drew the Performance Bonuses while Cejudo and Johnson earned the Fight of the Night.

Payouts

Mighty Mouse and Dillashaw earned the most out of the purses disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.  The payouts are here.

Reebok Payouts

Notably, Cub Swanson and Thiago Santos were the only fighters outside of the title fight participants to earn 5 figures.

T.J. Dillashaw: $40,000
Cody Garbrandt: $30,000
Henry Cejudo: $30,000
Demetrious Johnson: $40,000
Renato Moicano: $5,000
Cub Swanson: $20,000
J.J. Aldrich: $4,000
Polyana Viana: $3,500
Thiago “Marreta” Santos: $10,000
Kevin Holland: $3,500
Pedro Munhoz: $5,000
Brett Johns: $4,000
Ricky Simon: $3,500
Montel Jackson: $3,500
Ricardo Ramos: $3,500
Kyung Ho Kang: $5,000
Sheymon Moraes: $3,500
Matt Sayles: $3,500
Alex Perez: $3,500
Jose Torres: $3,500
Weili Zhang: $3,500
Danielle Taylor: $4,000
Marlon Vera: $5,000
Wuliji Buren: $3,500

Sponsorships

Van Heusen made its first appearance in the Octagon as an official sponsor of the UFC.  Stephen Thompson and T.J. Dillashaw star in an online commercial for the men’s brand which is launching a flexible casual line.  It had the fighter prep point.

Fallout 76, a multiplayer action video game sponsored the Embedded Series this time around.

It was announced that Trifecta Nutrition was the “Official Meal Delivery Partner of the UFC.”  The deal is set to be worth $10 million dollars.  Notably, Blue Apron, another company within the same space as Trifecta Nutrition is experiencing issues with its company as its second quarter earnings didn’t match up to analyst expectations.

In addition to Van Heusen and Trifecta Nutrition, Harley Davidson, Modelo, MetroPCS, Motel6.com, UFC Fight Pass, Toyo Tires, Monster Energy/Circle K and the movie Mile 22 which stars Ronda Rousey were in the Octagon.  Monster Energy had the center.

There seemed to be a concerted effort to promote the Reebok walkout shirts from the fighters.

Ratings

UFC 227 Prelims on FX: 717,000, 0.3 in the A18-49 demo (3rd highest in cable)

UFC 227 Pre Fight Show on FX:  306,000

UFC 226 Post-Fight Show on FS1:  122,000

Odds and Ends

Likely overshadowing this event was the news that Conor McGregor was returning to fight against Khabib Nurmogomedov in October.

While the story died down, there were old social media posts made by Garbrandt where he used racially insensitive language.  He was able to explain the posts away and it was seemed to be disregarded once fight night came around.  There was the news that was contemplating pulling out of the fight due to issues with his back but decided to go through with it due to financial reasons.  You have to feel for Garbrandt who has a little baby and is looking to buy a house, get insurance and all the other things with becoming a regular adult trying to start a family.  During a prefight media event, he revealed he went to Vegas to get epidural injections in his back.

There were over 500,000 google searches on Saturday for UFC 227 which is the norm for PPV buys in the 200K range.

Cub Swanson stated that he paid for $26,000 for tickets for the event.  The SoCal native lost via submission in the first round.

Garbrandt and Mike Tyson are friends if you watched the Embedded series.

The Prelims were shuffled to FX due to MLB on FS1.  It was also a busy night for combat sports as there was boxing on Fox and another on HBO.

Conclusion

Based on the google searches and the prelim ratings, this PPV likely drew around 250,000-275,000 PPV buys.  Outside of Conor McGregor, its hard to see a lighter weight division title fight drawing near 300,000 PPV buys nowadays.

Trifecta Nutrition becomes UFC’s “Official Meal Delivery Partner”

August 2, 2018

The UFC announced that it has entered into a new, multi-year marketing partnership with Trifecta Nutrition.  According to the press release sent out on Thursday, Trifecta Nutrition is the “Official Meal Delivery Partner” of the UFC.

According to Forbes, the deal is said to be worth close to $10 million dollars and includes an option to extend for another five years.

Via UFC Press Release:

…Trifecta becomes UFC’s first-ever “Official Meal Delivery Partner”, creating a brand-new sponsorship category for UFC. In return, Trifecta will have a branded presence at the UFC Performance Institute®, the state-of-the-art athlete training facility in Las Vegas, and an activation presence at UFC’s live events. UFC and Trifecta will also collaborate on a co-branded video series and social media campaigns, and Trifecta will utilize UFC branding to create custom delivery boxes and to promote national sweepstakes for UFC events.

The company has UFC ties as Urijah Faber is a managing partner with the company.  Trifecta Nutrition introduced a social media video featuring Cody Garbrandt this past November.

Payout Perspective:

This is a good deal for the company as it competes with Blue Apron in the meal delivery industry.  The company is focusing on athletes looking for a nutritional edge and its visibility at the Performance Institute will help get fighters into the meals.  Its presence at UFC live events will also work with fans.

 

 

UFC 226: Payout Perspective

July 11, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at UFC 226 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cormier is a Champ x2

Daniel Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship.  Cormier becomes just the second fighter (behind Conor McGregor) to hold titles in two divisions at the same time.  The former Olympian described post-fight that video study showed Stipe drops his hands coming out of the clinch and that is exactly how Cormier dropped Stipe with a short shot to the chin.

The bigger news came when Brock Lesnar came into the Octagon after the fight and shoved Cormier.  He then cut a promo on the heavyweight division and he weak it was.

Lesnar has been put back into USADA testing program and should be available by the end of the year.  Cormier, who has already announced his retirement plans on a handful of fights left despite just earning the title.  We shall see if one of those is his arch-nemesis Jon Jones.

Lewis-Ngannou turn in Worst Match of Year Candidate

This fight should have been one round.  Not because there was heavy-slugging and someone would have been knocked out, but because it was such a boring fight.  What most thought would be a back and forth home-run hitting fight, turned into one of the lowest striking fights in the history of the UFC.

Derrick Lewis came out as the “winner” although he stated he hurt his back during the fight.  Ngannou was buried post-fight by Dana White who claimed that the guy that was deemed a future superstar had an ego.

With Brock Lesnar coming in, Lewis will have to wait in line for a title shot.  More likely he’ll have to go through Curtis Blaydes before he gets a shot post-Lesnar fight.

Max Holloway pulls out of fight with Brian Ortega

Max Holloway was forced to pull out of his fight with Brian Ortega due to “concussion-like” symptoms.  Holloway’s team decided it best he not fight despite going through media obligations.  Ortega took it in stride but declined a fight against Jeremy Stephens as a replacement.  While Dana White was not pleased with missing a fight, Ortega had trained for Holloway and not Stephens.  A loss by Ortega would be a disaster for his title plans.  Remember Luke Rockhold did not have to take the fight with Yoel Romero when he missed weight.  He did and lost.

Attendance and Gate

Despite the loss of one title fight, it didn’t seem to damper the attendance.

Prior to the Holloway-Ortega fight being scrapped SeatGeek reported tickets on the secondary market being the highest since UFC 205 when the company had its first show in New York.

Bonuses

Daniel Cormier, Anthony Pettis, Khalil Rountree and Paulo Costa all received $50,000 bonuses.

Payouts

The Nevada Athletic Commission list of disclosed the full list of payouts prior to the event.  Stipe Miocic earned the most with $750,000 followed by Daniel Cormier’s $500,000.

Promotion of the Fight

The Embedded series seemed to have a focus on Ortega-Holloway from the outset and had to refocus and it appeared that there was a pause between episodes 3 and 4 so that they could do extra filming for Cormier, Miocic, Michael Chiesa, Anthony Pettis, Lewis and Ngannou.

Toyo Tires was active leading up to this event as it had a new commercial with former rivals T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz starring and former UFC light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin in a starring role.

The company also ran a marketing campaign with Brian Ortega ads.

Metro PCS ran a social media campaign using Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier in promoting their SuperFight.

Did Drake reference Max Holloway in “8 out of 10” on his new album?  I didn’t think so.  The UFC paid homage to the Scorpion album with an Instagram post hyping the main event.

Next Saturday's OFFICIAL tracklist. 🦂 #UFC226

A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on


Ratings (all on FS1)

UFC Weigh-Ins – 239K

UFC Pre-Show – 254K

UFC Prelims – 668K (peaked at 800K in the 9:45-10:00pm ET quarter hr)

UFC Post Show – 155K

Sponsorships

UFC sponsors Harley Davidson, Metro PCS, Toyo Tires, Monster Energy, EA’s UFC 3 and Modelo in the center of the Octagon. It also had signage for EA UFC’s latest version of its video game and the first glimpses of the logo for the company’s 25th Anniversary show in November.

There was an extended promotion for the latest version of EA’s UFC 3 with Tito Ortiz and Kimbo Slice.

Kamaru Usman introduced the promoted movie for this event, Denzel Washington’s

Odds and ends

It was International Fight Week which included the induction of individuals (and a fight) into the Hall of Fame.  Headlining the list was Ronda Rousey.  It also gave us a Chuck-Tito faceoff for a fight that appears to be happening in 2018 or 2019.

Despite an International Fight Week curse of headlining matches scratched, UFC 226 came through with several great main card performances from Khalil Rountree, Anthony Pettis and Daniel Cormier.  Also, the Mike Perry-Paul Felder fight was an entertaining bloodbath with Felder fighting at least 2 rounds with a broken arm or hand.

Dominick Cruz covering the fights during media leadup and as analyst on the PPV broadcast is great.

Chiesa missed weight but wore a Shawn Kemp jersey so he gets some press here.

We are underway in Vegas! #TUF27 #UFC226

A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on

Conclusion

This was the biggest UFC event to date and with the 25th Anniversary Show being announced in November and a possible Cormier-Lesnar fight to end in December the latter half of 2018 could be exciting. The loss of Holloway-Ortega did not hurt the gate, but it may have hurt the PPV. Despite being one of the best ever, Cormier has yet to prove he is a PPV draw without Jon Jones. So, this event likely does above average but still nowhere near Conor/Ronda levels. Look for estimates between 450,000 to 500,000.

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