By Zach Arnold | June 5, 2007
By Zach Arnold
Yesterday, I wrote a post about the situation with sponsors in the UFC. The primary focus was to point out that two of the four main UFC sponsors, Amp’d Mobile and Xyience, are in reported trouble. The other two, Toyo Tires and Mickey’s malt liquor, are not the biggest of corporate names to jump onboard a product that appeals heavily to an 18-34 year old demographic.
Today, Dana White did an interview with NBC Sports and was asked about the issue of corporate sponsorships in UFC.
He is also asked if he would like for companies such as Coca-Cola or Nike to jump on board as sponsors. He says that he is very happy with Mickey’s and Toyo Tires (notice that he makes no mention of Amp’d Mobile). Not only does he say he is happy with the sponsors, but says that he doesn’t need Coke in order for the company to be successful. He said if they come on board that would be great but he doesn’t need them because 18-34 year olds are watching the UFC without those sponsors. Quote: “If Coke wants them, Coke needs to come to us.”
This is an incredibly arrogant and short-sighted attitude to have and it needs to change real fast. Here’s a more specific quote from Dana White on the NBC Sports interview:
“I’m cool with Mickey’s and Toyo Tires, man, believe me, you’ll never hear me bitch. The way that we’ve run this business and the way we have come up, think about it… we didn’t have any mainstream press, we didn’t have any mainstream sponsors, and look at how huge we are. I don’t fucking need Coke to keep doing what we’re doing, man. Believe me, the big time sponsors if they come on, of course that’d be fantastic. I don’t need ‘em. 18-to-34 year old males, they’re here hanging out with me. If Coke wants them, Coke needs to come to us. You know, this [UFC] wasn’t bought by smart businessmen.”
I earlier alluded to the fact that PRIDE on its own didn’t have many blue-chip sponsors, but one big-name sponsor they did manage to get was MasterCard. Dana White recently called the way DSE ran business with PRIDE “a mess.” So how is it that the owners of “a mess” managed to attract more credibility with corporate sponsors than UFC, a supposedly legitimate operation attracting hundreds of millions of dollars on PPV?
Part of having a legitimate presence in the corporate world is showing that major powers in that same world are backing your company. There is no better way to do this than by bringing in big-name, blue-chip sponsors to the table.
Even a caveman sponsored by Geico can understand that.