UFC Fan Expo Part II: The Show Floor

Posted: September 1, 2010 in Local MMA, Marketing, PR, UFC

If you follow this blog then you know that this past weekend I made my way to the Hynes Convention Center for the UFC Fan Expo. Although the first (and primary) stop for me was the Grapplers Quest tournament, as a marketer I had to walk the Expo floor to see how companies and fighters alike would market themselves to the masses.

The show floor was very interesting. In some ways, it was like every other conference I’d trudged through over the years, but in many ways it was much, much better.   Like a traditional expo floor there was an endless field of booths and sea of people trying to work their way through the clutter.  However, unlike a traditional conference where every booth looks the same and everything is very bland, the expo was eye-popping and very, very interactive for fans.

As you can see from the above video, some folks incorporated some hands on (or feet) experiences for fans.  The booth that obviously stood out the most to me was TapOut which had its entire Tour bus inside the convention center.

The autograph sessions sprinkled throughout the day gave fans the chance to meet with world-famous fighters like Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Forrest Griffin (among others) as well as local Boston fighters like Jorge Rivera and John “Doomsday” Howard.  When the closing minutes of the expo were winding down, Silva and Liddell were still signing and meeting with fans. This dedication was something to note since many actors/actresses who attend other shows will leave as soon as they can and leave fans standing in line wondering what they waited for…

As a marketer and an MMA fan, what I liked most about the expo is  the fact that it was more than just a UFC marketing engine.  Don’t get me wrong, the UFC has always been great about promoting itself and its products.  However, The UFC Fan Expo was set up to serve as an overall MMA safe house.  To my (pleasant) surprise,  the Expo was very much about the sport, not just the UFC.  This is perhaps the best PR the sport can receive from its leading organization.  Treating  fans with this type of venue and this type of respect – by not just shoving your own product down their throats – will go a long way with true MMA fans.

Interestingly, exhibitors from around the world were from a variety industries and included:

  • Clothing;
  • Cable networks;
  • Supplements;
  • Training equipment;
  • Armed services branches;
  • Action figures;
  • Video games; and,
  • Instructional videos.

Now, I’ll do my usual bow to the marketing machine behind the expo.  So, let’s look at who kept the lights on:

Official Sponsors: UFC, Bud Light, TapOut, Xyience, Cazadores Tequila, BSN, and Dollarmur Martial Arts

Exhibitors: Ultimate Iceman Supplements, Bonafide Tough Guy, HTFU, Rudog, BSN, Xyience, TapOut, Tokyo Five, NGAUGE, Century MMA, MMeh Fighter, Defense Soap, GI Nutrition, HeadRush, Lightspace Corporation, Topps, MB Sports, MB Sports, MRI, ProLab, Shock Doctor, US Bank, StubHub, Comcast, Cazadores Tequila, OTM Fight Shop, Hayabusa, Knockout Athletics, The Next Great Fighter, Obession Fight Gear, Ring to Cage Fight Gear, HTFU, Destroy Clothing, LLC, Jaco Clothing, Sucker Punch Athletics, BJ Penn Enterprises, VXRSI, BradyGames, NewBreed, Ecko Complex, Power Balance, FORM athletics, FightDentist, LLC, GI Nutrition, Burn with Kearns, Klutch Wear, SplitLip Fightwear, Xtreme Couture, HDnet, Round 5 Corporation, Live Wicked, Bad Boy MMA, CagePotato, Fight Fuel, Dethrone Royalty, Everlast, Golden Gear, Haganah USA East, Jakks Pacific, Inc, MRI, Lighstpace Corp, Live Wicked, MB Sports/Teddleton Enterprises, MA Army National Guard, Obsession Fight Gear, Power Balance, Prevail Brand, PRIDE, ProLab, Punishment Athletics, Ranger Up, Rev Gear Sports Co, Rio Wear, Rough Kut, Shock Doctor, Sammy Black Studios, Silver Star, SPIKE TV, THQ, Team Belfort, Trinity Products, US Air Force, Tri-Coasta, US Marines, VPX Sports,  and WEC.

If the Expo comes to your town, I highly recommend you check it out. The experience is well worth it!

  1. Guy Sako says:

    The expo was awesome. We were able to meet about 200 of our customers and hand out 1300 samples. I am glad to see the East Coast was given this chance to attend an UFC Expo. We will be back next year for sure.

    Defense Soap

    • It was an awesome opportunity to see all of the things that were being offered for fans to enjoy and participate in. I’m bummed that I missed the Defense Soap booth – I would have loved to have gotten a sample to test out. I always spray myself with Bactine after I train and go home to take a lava hot shower but quite frankly dove doesn’t quite pass muster on the funky stuff that I need to fight off so that my wife doesn’t beat me in my sleep. Any coupon codes/discount for ordering off of http://www.defensesoap.com ? If you do and you have any patches I’ll be happy to get them sewn on my gi for when I compete. 🙂

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