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Running the UFC Franchise

Running the UFC Franchise

From the vantage point of the fan watching at home, a UFC event taking place in Las Vegas looks pretty much the same as a UFC event taking place in Singapore. Well, that’s by design, and there’s a lot that goes into making that the case.

The Las-Vegas Review Journal talked to the UFC about this very topic.

To assure the international fight show productions meet UFC standards, the Las Vegas headquarters is sending staffers with fight event operations, regulatory, technical and production experience to work with UFC international offices and locally hired production crews and freelancers, said Craig Borsari, UFC executive vice president of operations and production.

“It’s a challenge. The goal is to put on a UFC event in an international (location) that looks, sounds and feels like those in the United States, but will have a localized feel to it so that it’s relevant and speaks to the local audience,” Borsari said.

“We know what works here and we think the high-energy experience has a global appeal. We do not want to strip that down and change anything in terms of the energy,” he said. “We want the signature look and feel of the UFC, but localize it to fans in that market.”

In case you haven’t been keeping track, the UFC has foreign offices in London, Sao Paolo, Singapore, Brazil and Toronto. The Las Vegas is, obviously, the main headquarters, and where the “franchise” originates from. It is essentially the brain that gives the orders, and who the local outposts coordinate with for events.

…Borsari has to walk a fine line of re-creating UFC’s fight show atmosphere while being sensitive to the local customs, language, culture and traditions in the local market of any particular international setting.

For example, Octagon girls at the UFC fight shows in the U.S. and Brazil bare lots of skin in bikini outfits, but their wardrobe is more conservative for fight events in China.

“It’s a daily or nightly conversation with headquarters making sure the show build-out meets UFC standards with meeting local market nuances, like having local voices on promos and element pieces,” Borsari said.

UFC officials at the Las Vegas home base will work with their managers in the field across the world for everything from finding local on-air TV talent to companies that own TV equipment that are compatible with UFC’s broadcast system.

The next time you tune in to a UFC taking place outside of the U.S., take a closer look at the production and consider the behind-the-scenes operations stuff that would otherwise go unnoticed. If it seems exactly how a UFC should be, then you know the UFC’s foreign offices are doing their jobs.

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