Oct 15, 2009 at 04:38 PM
written by Jordan McCreery

Competitive Conflicts & MMA

After watching WEC 43 and reading this post at MMAPayout.com on ROI and fighter sponsorships, I thought it would be a good time to go beyond just poor placement and over crowding of sponsor logos on fighter MMA fighter apparel but also examine the concept of competitive sponsorship that exists in the sport.

I wanted to focus more on the fact that directly competitive brands are often featured as sponsors for the same fighter. As sponsorship grows to include more mainstream brands in larger industries, looking for more than just name awareness alone, this trend will have to come to an end. If not, certain fighters and management companies will surely fall behind as the growth of the sport and the sponsorship aspect of Mixed Martial Arts evolves.

In other sports you rarely see competitive brands sponsoring the same team or individual. I think NASCAR is a great example of this and the type of sponsorship I am referring to. You wouldn’t see a Coca-Cola sponsored car with a Coke ad on the hood and a Pepsi ad on the side panel. Why then do fighters sometimes have 2, 3, 4 or even 5 different competing companies in the same industry all as sponsors? Not only do those brands already compete in their specific market segment, they are now again competing with this already existing competition on a sponsored space that they paid to instead be featured on. This really defeats the purpose of the sponsorship and the money spent for the brand exposure.

Shouldn't brands be attempting to create a deeper association for the consumer between that individual and their brand? Why would an MMA apparel company like Warrior International want to be associated with a fighter that also has an existing sponsorship with their direct competition? The same goes for a supplement company, why would MaxMuscle want to be associated with a fighter that also was sponsored by a rival in the industry? My point is, they wouldn’t.

When a brand aligns itself with a fighter that fighter becomes a representative of the brand, and no brand wants to be related in any way to their competitor. Brands that select exclusive sponsorships and utilize their sponsored fighter to increase their brand’s exposure over competitors will get the most out of their investment in MMA sponsorship. When competitive sponsorship exists it is not only going to provide a low return on investment but also can produce further problems for the brand in the future.

In entering into new sponsorship agreements with a fighter, Brand decision-makers should be mindful of whether the sponsorship opportunity that they are entering into allows competitive conflicts to exist. There should be a clear understanding of the display of the sponsor’s logo, as well as the placement and other sponsors represented by the specific fighter. When brands, fighters and managers all start realizing this they can then look to get the most out of their sponsorship dollar.

Jordan McCreery is the Director of Business Development for MMAAdNet.com as well as Magnetic Marketing Associates. He is an MMA enthusiast with a Marketing & Management background and works with both advertisers and fighters to grow the business side of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. You can follow him on Twitter via @MMAAdvertising and see all of his past posts here. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the publisher, SponsorPitch, LLC.

photo credit via wikimedia: Vega Dark