Ring Of Sports Marketing

Date archives November 2016


MMA, The UFC, And The Fighter’s Union

The UFC has brought combat sports back to the forefront of the American sports world.  Boxing, as a brand, was relegated to niche programming found on HBO, Showtime, with the mid-tier fights taking place on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.  Much like boxing, the UFC has a chaotic schedule, volatile fighters, and more unpredictability than any mainstream sport.

To an extent, the UFC and MMA as a whole is paying for boxing’s sins.  One of the stigmas attached to combat sports is that the sport abuses the value of it’s fighters.  The Muhammad Ali Act was put in place to protect boxer’s from predatory promoters who had been stealing money from their prize fighters.  Some state representatives are now trying to extend the Muhammad Ali Act to cover MMA.  In order to protect itself for long-term stability, the UFC must navigate promoter-fighter relationships better than the fight promoters of the past.

There are strong arguments both for and against creating a fighter’s union.  Since the end of summer there are now multiple players looking to unionize MMA fighters.  Current events surrounding the recent sale of the UFC and recent practices by the company have created a sense of urgency amongst some fighters to form a union to collectively bargain for benefits, pay, and protections.

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Conor McGregor Demands Equity In UFC

Conor McGregor became the first UFC fighter to ever be a champion in two different weight classes simultaneously.  He knocked out Eddie Alvarez in the second round of their main event fight at UFC 205, the debut UFC event in the state of New York.  The Irish fighter has been breaking gate and PPV records over the last year and is demanding an equity stake in the UFC.

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International Business / UFC

Brazil Passes Canada For Top International Market

Brazil has now become the most valued international market for the UFC.  The company made $40 million in rights from an estimated 37 million fans.  There are two media companies, Combate and Globo, will also pay the UFC $32.1 million through 2018.  Globo is the largest broadcast network in Brazil and Combate is a premium channel.

Nielsen Sports and Scarborough estimated that there were 260 million UFC fans in the world but that only 15% of them were in the United States.  However, the 15% of American UFC fans generated 87% of the revenue for 2015.

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Sports Law / UFC

Lawyers In Anti-Trust Case Trying To Depose UFC Execs Including Dana White

Lawyers representing former UFC fighters who are suing the promotional company for violating anti-trust laws are seeking to depose Dana White and other UFC executives.  The case is currently in discovery, which means the two legal teams are interviewing stakeholders in the lawsuits and exchanging any other information relevant to the case.  The article, which is behind a pay wall, also mentions that the executives at WME-IMG may also be deposed.

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Entertainment Business / MMA / Ratings / UFC

UFC Expects Multiple Bidders For Media Rights In 2018

The UFC’s 2001 agreement with FOX was a sign that the UFC was approaching the mainstream media audience. The new owners of the UFC, WME-IMG, appear to be very optimistic about the upcoming negotiations for their media rights. Their current contract with FOX expires in 2018 and the owners are expecting to have multiple bidders because of a scarcity of sports content at that time.

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Finance / MMA / UFC

Investor Documents Outline Future Strategy for WME-IMG Led UFC

MMA Junkie has obtained a 58-page document provided by the UFC to new investors including the largest investor WME-IMG.   The document explains the revenue sources, past actions, and future strategies for the organization in order to convince potential investors that investing the UFC is a smart business decision.

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