When it comes to the UFC and new partnerships, many of the pieces published nowadays focus on international markets: signing new TV deals, online deals, and things of that nature. But the war for mainstream acceptance in the US is far from over, and the UFC knows this full well. Recently the UFC announced an exclusive partnership with Boost Mobile, naming the cell phone company as the “official wireless partner” of the UFC. Here are all the details.
The following is taken from a press release that has found its way onto several major news and business websites: “Boost Mobile, a leader in the no-contract wireless space with $50 Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage, is joining forces with UFC®, the world’s fastest growing sports organization, as the official wireless sponsor. To celebrate its entry into the sport, Boost Mobile will present the heavyweight showdown UFC 121, featuring reigning champion Brock Lesnar against undefeated Cain Velasquez on Saturday, Oct. 23, in Anaheim, Calif.”
Bob Stohrer, one of the higher-ups at Boost Mobile, had this to say: “The popularity of UFC has exploded during the past few years, solidifying its position as a mainstream competitive sport. This is an ideal partner for Boost as the sport aligns well with our competitive nature and will give our brand heightened visibility with UFC’s avid and growing fan base.”
For fans who aren’t familiar with the cell phone scene, Boost Mobile is an “urban-themed” cell phone company with a focus on prepaid no-contract phones, and is owned by Sprint. Up until this partnership, Boost Mobile had been a proud sponsor of several MMA fighters, most notably former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson and former MMA fighter, backstreet brawler, and ratings juggernaut Kimbo Slice.
I think this is a smart move for all involved. In particular, I think the UFC made a very wise choice by going with Boost rather than some of the heavy-hitters like Verizon. Despite their rampant popularity and mainstream acceptance, the UFC has maintained a bit of a counter-culture aspect to themselves for their entire history. While the UFC has taken great pains to increase awareness and legitimize Mixed Martial Arts as a sport, they’ve always had this distinct “underground” appeal.
I think signing with Boost Mobile is a further continuation of that trend. The UFC is hip, new, exciting, and growing whether you like it or not. They need a partner that is sleek and slick, maybe not as well known as the other heavy hitters in the game, but one with a definitive brand and appeal. With its focus on looking cool and attracting young well-to-do men and women, Boost Mobile is a perfect partner for the UFC.
I think it’s great to see that the UFC hasn’t stopped their drive for mainstream acceptance even as they amp up their focus on international expansion. While the UFC is on very stable footing in the US right now, their position could always be better. New and interesting partnerships like these will continue to build the UFC brand and allow more men and women access to it. And the best thing about this deal is that it’s strategically sound and makes sense.
So what do you think, fans and friends? Do the benefits of the right demographic and the right image make Boost Mobile a worthy partner to the UFC, or should the UFC had signed to a major, more well-known cell phone company?