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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.

11 COMMENTS
  • Tom K says:

    There’s nothing anywhere that says that the UFC isn’t actually out courting these potential advertisers behind the scenes. And maybe the agreement with Spike means that the UFC gets a flat rate regardless of ad buys? Dana White may come off as a jerk in the media, but who knows what he’s like when he’s actually talking to HBO, CBS, Spike, etc. Neither of us have been in the room during these types of negotiations — it’s highly unlikely that his “persona” to us is the same when he talks to important people in negotiations.

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  • Jo says:

    I think the UFC needs to get a new guy in charge. One that has experience in dealing with large corporations and someone that has an excellent business sense and that will not let their EGO ruin the product that he has to sell.

    Over the past couple of years we have seen more and more of Mr. White and it seems like he enjoys the spot light and he runs the UFC with a lot of personal emotion and it is getting to the point where he is going to ruin relationships with sponsors and their athletes (this has already been done). Dana has done well for the UFC but he can also ruin a lot of opportunities for the company to grow with his attitude. I wonder how much more successful they would be if he did not have this attitude?

    “Coke needs us, we don’t need them.”

    Last time I checked Coca Cola is worth a little more than Dana’s company and if he has that attitude then he is shooting him self (UFC) in the foot.

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  • Shawn says:

    I agree with Tom. The excerpt talks about what Spike is doing to get advertisers but that doesn’t mean that the UFC isn’t doing it too. Just because I tell you girls I sleep with pay for breakfast the following morning as well as their cab home doesn’t mean I did nothing to make the night fun – I shelled out the cash for the rufies.

    Maybe that’s a bad example but the point is Dana has reiterated time and time again that any deal the UFC has ever made over the years they do in house by bringing whoever their courting to a live event and they get them hooked. Spike needs the UFC to be succesful so they get advertising dollars and their investment continues to pay off. Spike is the cable network and they’re responsible for getting commercial advertisers during UFC programming, not the UFC. The UFC is responsible for getting their own private sponsors for their events (ie Mickeys, Toyo Tires) and if those sponsors also choose to purchase commercial time on Spike then the UFC is helping Spike (ie Xyience, 300).

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  • NickRE says:

    Supposed TUF 7 contestant Court Mcgee was set to fight Jeremy Horn in Utah last night for the Ultimate Combat Expierence. Anyone know how that turned out?

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  • Gavin says:

    …blue chip or maybe white collar?

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  • Big Rush says:

    Dana is a tough negotiator, but its not his job to get advertisers for Spike TV, even if his show is playing. Spike pays the UFC a fee for providing content (shows) and the Network (Spike) charges advertisers a fee for ads in that timeslot. DW’s attitude that “Coke needs us” is just his egotistic way of overhyping the fact that the UFC is incredibly strong in the male 18 – 35 demographic.

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  • Rln says:

    “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?”

    Dude, what kind of crack are you smoking?? Zuffa has zero say when it comes to the advertising that appears on Spike TV. WTF would Dana White be courting advertisers for Spike TV? The only thing the UFC and Spike share in common when it comes to advertising is the same demographic.

    Take a look at the UFC’s official list of sponsors and it shows no less then 6 multi-billion dollar companies that are on board already. They do an amazing job of getting mainstream companies considering how a lot of people think that MMA is still a blood sport. I think you should actually do some research before making a statement like “That kind of attitude, along with the way he handles the media, have turned off blue collar sponsors to the UFC’s product.”. It shows that you’ve no idea at all when it comes to advertising and the UFC.

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  • THORAZINE says:

    MMA is not quite yet mainstream…. lol… I think Rin#7 makes some essential points….

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  • Dizzle says:

    I work in advertising and have been doing so for the past 5 years. I work at an advertising agency and I have to say that the best advertising I’ve seen them do is the 3 UFC events for a discounted price if you buy all 3 of them. That type of advertising isn’t going to reel in new customers, but it’s just throwing the bait out there waiting for us regulars to bite.

    I think the UFC needs to rethink their advertising in the sense that they are focusing more on promoting top fighters and not the UFC brand. I see the same old boring TV spots for the UFC trying to cram in 3-5 fights into a 60 second spot. It’s too much going no for you to remember who is who.

    They should focus on top name fighters so users who don’t know the UFC will remember these fighters when they see them on TV. When I watched the last UFC event I had 12 people at my house and 5 of them don’t watch the UFC, but they had seen the commercials on TV for the event. They didn’t know not a single fighter that was in the event….you would think that just by watching the Promo’s that they’d atleast remember a fighters name…they didn’t.

    It’s really hard to advertise a growing industry. Alot of times you need to go through a few advertising agencys before you actually get a good agency that has figured out a method to grab more attention of the audience.

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  • Jay K. says:

    RLN hit the nail on the head.

    Knock the chip off your shoulder that you’ve got for Dana and the UFC.

    Jay K.

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  • “Do you wanna be a fuckin’ sponsor!?”

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