UFC & Strikeforce Battle for Primetime

Posted: October 21, 2010 in Marketing, PR, Strikeforce, UFC

This is a very interesting time for MMA and I love it.  As publications and media outlets are starting to cover the sport, the two biggest affiliations The UFC and STRIKEFORCE continue to push pins on the primetime map.  Both have held ‘free’ cards on networks like SPIKE and Showtime, but now the game is evolving further.

For the UFC, in addition to its already popular reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” the organization is also producing an ongoing documentary series “Primetime.” Although previous installments have looked at GSP, BJ Penn and Dan Hardy, this UFC Primetime is a look into the lives of heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, and the challenger, Cain Velasquez.   This program airs on SPIKE TV and is a three part program that takes viewers from rural Minnesota as Lesnar trains with the DeathClutch/Minnesota Martial Arts Academy to San Jose, CA, as Velasquez trains with the -now infamous – American Kickboxing Academy team. What I love about UFC Primetime is that it delivers an extraordinary amount of access to two of mixed martial arts’  as they head into what could be their biggest fight of the year.

The quality is phenomenal and the documentary-style interviews with each fighter and their camps does suck you in and create an investment that makes you want to order the fight and watch the outcome. (Kudos to UFC sales & marketing there…)

STRIKEFORCE is making a move on a less direct path.  Whether or not there name is on the box, they are associated with EA Sports MMA video game which debuted this month.  The fighters, the ring, the inclusion of “Big” John McCarthy, everything screams that this is a STRIKEFORCE product.  The game is receiving great reviews – but more importantly is receiving a marketing blitzkrieg across broadcast, online and print media.

The above commercial has been playing non-stop and there were two places that really caught my eye. I outlined the first in my UFC 120 recap, the company was ingenious enough to buy ad time during a UFC event on Spike to ensure an already MMA-infused audience knew about their competitive product.  The other placement has been directly in primetime with ads placed strategically between 8-10 during the MLB play-offs.  This is outstanding.  First, the ad feels like a TapouT ad and then slaps you with a game – very slick.  Second, we are now solidifying that this is a sport that deserves the attention of other sports fans – I love it.

What have you thought of these two promotions?

  1. […] Primetime. Directly following fights with these types of promos will not only build hype for the next fight card but convert casual fans to be more educated on the […]

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