Ring Of Sports Marketing


UFC And Topps Partner For Digital Trading Card App

The UFC and Topps Trading Cards has launched the Knockout 16 app just in time for International Fight Week.  The app will have thousands of trading cards with unique artwork and will feature some of the biggest stars in the UFC such as Conor McGregor, Miesha Tate, and Demetrius Johnson who is the cover athlete.

From the press release:

“Topps has been a great partner and we’re thrilled to offer fight fans a new way to experience UFC in the digital realm while watching live events,” UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Tracey Bleczinski said. “Fans are really going to enjoy collecting and trading their favorite UFC athletes in real-time.”

“We’re excited to expand on our relationship with the UFC by introducing engaging and easily accessible digital trading cards to keep up with the demand of UFC fans around the world,” said Jeremy Strauser, Vice President and General Manager of Topps Digital. “We see the enormous impact and global popularity of the UFC, so UFC KNOCKOUT 16 is a natural fit for Topps’ apps portfolio.”

Ringside Analysis:

There has already been a huge success in digital trading cards with Topps partnering with Star Wars.  Germain Lussier, who is an avid Star Wars trading card fan, says that having ownership of an item, even digitally, is simply different from looking at an image.  Being able to trade cards is a huge selling point.  The MLB, famous for having trading cards, has also had success with digital trading cards.

Part of the success behind the Star Wars partnership is the very large and avid fan base that Star Wars has.  It will be key for the avid UFC fan to participate in this digital marketplace for the partnership between the UFC and Topps to work out.  I have my doubts that the avid UFC fan is that interested in trading digital cards.  However, any shot that the UFC can take at growing their fan base or at least increasing avidity is worth it.  The marketplace for digital trading cards is thriving and on an upward trajectory but the industry is fueled by avid fans of a sport and I’m not sure there is a good overlap between people who love digital trading cards and those who are fans of the UFC.

The 18-24 year old demo has been the biggest consumer of the UFC and perhaps with younger kids having grown up with smartphones they are more inclined to participate in digital card trading.  The people in the 18-24 demo constantly turns over and this partnership could be a way to create new fans as kids begin to enter the prime fan demo of the UFC.

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