“We’re In The Business Of Emotional Currency”: UFC’s Rene Valencia

“We’re In The Business Of Emotional Currency”: UFC’s Rene Valencia
SHARE
THIS



In just 15 short years, there’s no denying the UFC has come a long way has a brand, but the event series still as a way to go to change its perception of being violent to “wholesome”, according to its vice president of international partnerships.

Speaking yesterday at the Ministry of Sports Marketing conference in Sydney, Rene Valencia started of his keynote presentation by noting that despite its meteoric rise, the UFC is not exactly an easy sell.

Rene Valencia

Rene Valencia

“We often come across brands that don’t want to be associated with a combat sport – they don’t want blood on their logo, they think the sport’s violent – and to be completely honest, it is,” he said.

“But what happens inside the Octagon is just 10 per cent of the journey, and what I’m out there selling to brands is the journey to the Octagon.

“When I’m talking to brands and potential partners, we talk about the human link of the UFC that really brings our brand to life. Apart from the media values and the various sponsorship metrics that all the brands measure for and ROI, we talk about what is really different for the UFC, which is its ability to connect with humans, and the fact that we’re all fighters.

“Whether you’re fighting to get up in every morning to get to work, fighting against an illness, or fighting to put together a script last minute for a presentation, every day there’s a constant battle in what we do.”

Valencia said that while the UFC does value its marketing partnerships, content – which it owns and produces all of, and is led by a global roster of athletes such as Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey and Aussie Robert Whittaker – is king for the brand.

“Within the UFC, we believe we’re in the business of emotional currency. We’re selling passion and a pride in the sport that we believe no other sport has,” he said.

“Our business is built on a short 15-year history of accelerated and rapid growth, it’s built on innovation and it’s really built on content.”

Monster sponsors

Valencia said his primary focus for the UFC is to drive annualised deals with sponsorship partners, which he finds a lot easier than per-event deals.

“A $50,000 sponsor for one event is 10 times harder to service than a four-year deal worth $5 million because they probably have smaller pockets, they’re much more interested in their return on investment in a very short period of time, and they’re not truly investing in the long-term future of the brand in sport,” he said.

Energy drink brand Monster is one of the UFC’s biggest sponsors globally, paying for endorsement deals with 13 of its 400-plus contracted athletes.

Here in Australia, Tabcorp is numero uno in the UFC sponsor stakes with an annualised deal that runs through to the end of 2019.

“Tabcorp does a fantastic job for us in activating digital,” Valencia said.

“You can go into their retail outlets – whether that’s their point of sale in licensed premises – and you’re able to win trips to Vegas to experience the UFC, attend UFC events in Australia, you’re able to bet on the UFC in all states except Victoria.”

What’s next?

With the Western Australian government recently overturning the ban on the Octagon, Valencia said Aussies could see a pay-per-view UFC event in the new Perth Arena as early as February 2018.

The UFC also plans to expand its business lines across all cities Down Under, and is set to announce new sponsors in the next three months.

“We’re leaning heavily on branded content,” Valencia said. “One of our partners will be producing live training sessions out of the performance institute in Las Vegas, streamed back to their Australian audience through social media.

“The other thing you’ll see is the potential launch of a UFC store in Sydney or Melbourne. It’ll be a completely branded content store with interactive technology.”

The ‘Money Fight’

The fight between McGregor and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather is being touted as one of the biggest events in sporting history, and is certainly the biggest event on the UFC’s calendar this year.

The 'Money Fight' (Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor)

Valencia said that if you look at the numbers from a commercial standpoint, the projections are beyond all previous fight events.

“We’re looking at a US$77 million gain at TW Arena. On the low side, we’re looking at a US$600 million per-per-view buy globally, and in my area we’re trying to get to US$20 million,” he said.

Looking beyond the McGregor-Mayweather fight, Valencia said the UFC looking to continue to shift the brand from being “a little misunderstood or feared at times to something that’s more wholesome”.

“We’re not going to get Milo into grassroots sponsoring anytime soon, but I believe we can move into grassroots here if we grow the brand in the right way through the right vehicles,” he said.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Advertising Standards Bureau Conor McGregor Floyd Mayweather lexus australia Ministry of Sports Marketing 2017 MSM 2017 Rene Valencia

Latest News

Acast Adds New Brand Suitability Controls For Advertisers Via Comscore
  • Advertising
  • Media

Acast Adds New Brand Suitability Controls For Advertisers Via Comscore

Acast, the independent power source of podcasting has teamed up with Comscore to provide brand suitability controls for brands advertising through the Acast Marketplace. This new innovation is part of a global partnership with Comscore, and will be available to all advertisers working with Acast Australia and New Zealand. The brand suitability solutions offered by […]

HubSpot To Support The GO Foundation As Part Of World Certification Week
  • Technology

HubSpot To Support The GO Foundation As Part Of World Certification Week

HubSpot, the customer relationship management (CRM) platform for scaling companies, has announced that as part of its World Certification Week, it is supporting the GO Foundation with its mission to empower young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through education. As part of the support, HubSpot will donate $5 for every HubSpot Academy certification awarded […]

IntelligenceBank Secures $50M Investment From Five Elms Capital
  • Technology

IntelligenceBank Secures $50M Investment From Five Elms Capital

IntelligenceBank has today announced a strategic growth investment from Five Elms Capital. The $US37 million ($50 million) investment comes as brands and enterprises have realised that outdated technologies, disjointed data sources, and manual processes make it challenging to efficiently manage essential marketing workflows and ensure compliance across the organization. IntelligenceBank digitally transforms manual processes and […]

SCA Announces Ten New Dab Music Stations Via LiSTNR
  • Media

SCA Announces Ten New Dab Music Stations Via LiSTNR

Southern Cross Austero (SCA) announced today 10 all-new DAB+ music stations on LiSTNr. The introduction of the 10 new Dab stations takes the number of music stations to 25 and reinforces its commitment to growing exclusive music programs and content. The 10 new stations have been created to cater to a variety of moods and […]

SBS Launches Live Interpreting Of Daily NSW COVID-19 Conferences In Vietnamese And Arabic
  • Media

SBS Launches Live Interpreting Of Daily NSW COVID-19 Conferences In Vietnamese And Arabic

SBS has launched live interpreting of the daily NSW Government COVID-19 press conference in languages other than English, to provide communities with access to the latest information and critical health messages. The national-first initiative provides real-time interpreting of the press conferences in Arabic and Vietnamese, streamed live every day on the SBS Arabic24 and SBS Vietnamese Facebook pages, SBS […]

Linktree Chooses Snowflake To Support Intelligence And Analytics Activities
  • Technology

Linktree Chooses Snowflake To Support Intelligence And Analytics Activities

Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, today announced it has been chosen by market-leading linking platform, Linktree, to support the company’s business intelligence and analytics activities. Linktree enables creators, brands, artists, publishers, agencies, and businesses of all sizes to curate an online ecosystem and monetise their passion, instantly guiding their audience to the destinations they care […]

London, UK - August 01, 2018: The buttons of Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp on the screen of an iPhone.
  • Media

Snapchat Sees 116% Increase In Revenue

The last time B&T saw impressive increases the size of 116% was the swipe left rejections on our Tinder profile.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Woman hand using modern laptop computer to connect with live streaming video on social network
  • Technology

Xandr Sees 125% Lift In Video Spend

Xandr, AT&T’s data-enabled technology platform at the intersection of digital and TV, today shared results of premium video, Connected TV (CTV) and curated media spend on its platform for Q2 2021, which saw significant increases.

Taboola Acquires Connexity For $1 Billion
  • Technology

Taboola Acquires Connexity For $1 Billion

Taboola (Nasdaq: TBLA), a global leader in powering recommendations for the open web, helping people discover things they may like, announced today that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Connexity from Symphony Technology Group for approximately $US800 million. Connexity is one of the largest independent e-commerce media platforms in the open web, serving over 1,600 direct merchants, and 6,000 publishers.

How To Re-Engineer Your Event Mix With ON24
  • Partner Content

How To Re-Engineer Your Event Mix With ON24

Events are increasingly shifting online. You can't get loaded on booze & arancinis, but you'll save on dry cleaning

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom
  • Technology

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom

Twitter has just experienced its fastest growth in revenue since 2014, with the social media platform benefiting from increased interest from advertisers. Revenue was up 74 per cent YoY, according to the company’s Q2 results, reaching $US1.19 billion ($1.6 billion) from $US683.4 million ($925 million) 12 months ago. The strong results came in the same […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey

Wild Turkey has announced the launch of its new global creative campaign and platform, ‘Trust Your Spirit’, featuring the brand’s creative director and spokesperson, Matthew McConaughey. The global campaign and platform ‘Trust Your Spirit’ is to encourage people to be bold, unapologetically themselves, and stay true to who they are. The global tagline and ethos […]

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign

Telecommunications company Optus has announced it will launch the world’s first TikTok sign-language activated filter. Featuring Optus ambassador Ian Thorpe, Optus will unveil a branded effect that shows TikTok users how to say key phrases in Auslan sign language, including ‘How are you?’ and ‘It starts with Yes’, through the hashtag challenge #SignYes. Optus will […]

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF
  • Campaigns

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF

Asia Pacific’s leading provider of vehicle parts, accessories, equipment, service and solutions, Bapcor will launch its latest campaign, ‘The unseen parts of every Australian journey’ this weekend.