The Ultimate Fighting Championship – UFC© – is a sports property which governs the sport of professional mixed martial arts. MMA is a combination of various forms of martial arts including sumo wrestling, jiu-jitsu, karate and other combat forms (boxing, kickboxing, grappling and wrestling). Established in 1993, UFC has rapidly grown MMA fighting, becoming a household name. As a brand, UFC’s coveted audience demographic is said to consist of approximately 4.5 million 18-49 year-olds. In 2001, the UFC was sold to its current owners, a casino duo from Las Vegas, for $2 million. President Dana White is a highly attuned and accessible executive with a twitter following of over 2 million people. Although not directly competing with the four major US sports properties – MLB, NBA, NFL & NHL – the UFC is definitely making a place for its self in the sports market.
As Christopher Erb explained in his video, the three traits of a successful brand include collaboration, lifestyle and engagement. Under the leadership of Dana White, the UFC is excelling in all three categories. In 2011, the UFC and FOX Sports inked a seven-year television deal for rights to four annually televised fights and the creation of the “television’s longest running sports reality show”, The Ultimate Champion. The collaboration with a large cable network, gives the UFC a $100 million home where sports fans can learn more about the sports property, giving the opportunity to increase the fan base. Also the Ultimate Champion, provides a humanistic look into a sport that can be described as brutal. UFC, through its collaborate with FOX Sports is in approximately 90 million households. The mutually beneficial collaboration gives UFC the exposure necessary for continued growth and delivers FOX the oft elusive yet highly coveted 18-49 year-old demographic.
The lifestyle of UFC can be gleaned by simply visiting their website. From news updates, fight and fighter coverage to a swath of ancillary products such as clothing lines, fitness series, publications, trading cards and a partnership with EA Sports. The fans of UFC can immerse themselves in the world of ultimate fighting consuming UFC in some form 24 hours a day.
Finally, UFC fans are highly interactive with the president and league itself through social media. With nearly 4.5 and 5.9 twitter and instagram followers respectively and digital subscription service – UFC Fight Pass – UFC fans are highly engaged and in the perfect demographic for low cost, high frequency interaction which often leads to the feeling of ownership. As UFC continues to grow its brand, grabbing new demographic categories (females), it should continue to find new ways to successfully collaborate with established brands, create a desirable lifestyle accessories and innovatively engage its constituents. These attributes will ensure is continues growth and increased brand value.