VeChain signs a $100 mn sponsorship deal with UFC
UFC and VeChain will work together on developing blockchain solutions for the sports industry
By Shashank Bhardwaj
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has agreed to a five-year partnership cum sponsorship deal worth $100 million with blockchain logistics firm VeChain, making it UFC's first-ever top-level blockchain partner. The seven-year-old crypto initiative hopes to get more users by utilising the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion's global influence in over 900 million households.
The UFC is the biggest promoter and event organiser for MMA. VeChain being the top sponsor for its MMA events, will have its marketing assets and brand will be integrated across the UFC in live events, in-arena promotion, social media, and other areas.
The partnership kicked off immediately, and VeChain's assets appeared on June 11 during a UFC event held in Singapore. VeChain’s sponsorship status as the ‘official blockchain partner’ at the UFC 275 event in Singapore will also allow VeChain to activate its new rights via branding in the Octagon. VeChain would also benefit from other broadcast and social media integrations.
According to Paul Asencio, the UFC's senior vice president of global partnerships, the arrangement has increased sponsorship sales by 30 percent from an already record-breaking 2021.
The collaboration is "one of the deepest integrations within premier UFC assets of any sponsor in UFC history," according to VeChain. The UFC estimates that VeChain's brand will reach 900 million television households in 175 countries. As part of the agreement, VeChain will hold the UFC's official fighter rankings titles, renamed ‘UFC Rankings Powered by VeChain’, and a branded presence within the fighting ring at UFC events.
VeChain will be promoted further in the venue on prominent digital displays, and both firms will generate content for the UFC's digital platforms, which the UFC estimates will reach around 200 million people. An annual ‘Brand Ambassador Fund’ will also provide paid opportunities to UFC athletes participating in VeChain marketing initiatives.
UFC has been working and partnering with blockchain and crypto startups for quite some time now. One of the UFC's major collaborations is its $175 million agreement with Crypto.com, which saw the crypto exchange become the UFC's ‘Cryptocurrency Platform Partner’, with fighters collecting fan bonuses in Bitcoin (BTC) as a result of the alliance.
In November 2021, Crypto.com also launched the first authorised UFC non-fungible token (NFT) collection, and the UFC has continued to release more licenced NFTs in collaboration with NFT creator Dapper Labs.
Stake, a crypto-only casino and sports betting platform, became the UFC's ‘First Official Betting Partner’ for its Asia and Latin American regions in March 2021.
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash