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How Spike TV is helping the UFC get advertisers

From Broadcasting & Cable:

A subset of its sales force is now devoted to making the league more palatable to those advertisers. A three-man sales group wines and dines the clients, shuttles them to live events in Las Vegas and Florida and holds special sessions with UFC athletes at gyms and training centers, all in the name of quelling their skittishness.

“We’re consistently trying to [promote] the UFC as a good vehicle to get in front of a young male audience and we thought we had to make a concentrated effort on selling it,” says Jeff Lucas, executive VP of the entertainment cluster of MTV Networks brands, which includes Spike.

Notice that it’s not the UFC that’s reaching out to these big advertisers and wining and dining them. It’s Spike TV that’s doing all the work. Is this a direct reflection on the attitude of Dana White? Why would the UFC not be all over this?

Awhile back, Dana said “Coke needs us, we don’t need them.” That kind of attitude, along with the way he handles the media, have turned off blue collar sponsors to the UFC’s product. Would you want to sit in a meeting with Dana White and try to come to terms? I know I wouldn’t.

The relationship between Spike TV and the UFC won’t last forever, so what happens when they go their separate ways? The UFC needs to be building these same relationships themselves so when the time comes to part ways with Spike TV, they can take the big advertisers with them.