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UFC In Partnership Deal With DraftKings

James Murphy
by in UFC on
  • The UFC is partnering with sports betting/DFS powerhouse DraftKings.
  • The deal is reportedly valued at $350 million USD in marketing and cash.
  • This is the first sports betting partnership for the UFC.

You know it’s a big deal when Dana White describes it as ‘massive’. That’s the adjective he used to describe the UFC’s first ever sports betting partnership with DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG). ESPN gambling writer David Purdum attached the $350 million USD price tag to the partnership with another source he quoted saying it was in the ‘low nine figures’ range.

Here’s the details on the partnership from a press release issued by the UFC:

DraftKings (Nasdaq: DKNG)and UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, today announced a groundbreaking agreement that marks one of the most significant partnerships in UFC history.  

DraftKings will become UFC’s first-ever “Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Partner” in the United States and Canada.  The sports technology and entertainment company will now be able to offer in-game promotions, activations, in-broadcast odds integrations and UFC branding across its daily fantasy and betting products and will possess rights to use official UFC marks and logos. On a weekly basis, DraftKings will also provide fans with free-to-play UFC games as well as enhanced prop bets and other innovative sportsbook opportunities. Ahead of UFC 259 on March 6, DraftKings has launched a free-to-play UFC pool with $10K in prizing, available for fans to enter and compete nationwide. 

Here’s some more brand integrations:

The agreement with UFC also provides DraftKingswith a branded presence on the Octagon canvas at select UFC events and during Dana White’s Contender Series.  In addition, DraftKings will have numerous sponsorship integrations within UFC content on both linear and digital platforms, including live broadcasts and pay-per-views, social media assets, and programming on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading streaming service for combat sports.  

One major component of the DraftKings branding that will be seen on UFC events is the promotion’s first ever round countdown clock. The clock will more often than not be seen on the cage as illustrated in the photo below but generally speaking the deal gives DraftKings ‘brand control over an installed clock in arenas where UFC events are held’.

Ezra Kucharz, DraftKings’ chief business officer, had this to say about the countdown clock:

“It’s going to allow the fighter and fans the ability to see the time left in a round in a way that they haven’t before. It’s a big deal because it’ll be integrated into the production technology, and fans and fighters will have the ability to see the countdown clock that people traditionally see watching at home.”

The UFC has certainly come a long way from Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor in the scale of their sponsorship deals. An ancillary benefit in the deal is UFC President Dana White who is without peer when it comes to plugs and promotion:

“This is a massive deal that will benefit UFC, DraftKings, and most of all the fans. DraftKings is the best at what they do in the betting and daily fantasy space, and unlike other sports, UFC has no off season. The action will be non-stop. This is the most important deal we’ve ever done to increase engagement with our fans and reach new ones, and I’m looking forward to all the exciting things we’re going to do with DraftKings over the next few years.”

Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder, CEO and executive chairman, is clearly pleased to be working with the UFC on such a ‘massive’ scale:

“Combat sports, and UFC in particular, have scaled significantly across both our sportsbook and daily fantasy verticals, evolving from a niche offering to a high-demand category that we believe will only grow further as we innovate. While DraftKings and UFC have previously collaborated on specific events, we are proud to become official partners and explore even more impactful integrations that prioritize the fan experience.”

Great deal all around. MMA has always had a surprising amount of betting interest and from a demographic standpoint the UFC’s fanbase is a perfect fit for DraftKings’ target market. From the UFC side, that’s a lot of money they’re getting and the more popular MMA betting becomes the greater the benefit for them in terms of other products.

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