MarketWatch: UFC a Hit With Sponsors, Second to NFL

It is a tough time, with a tough economy, especially in the U.S. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, however, has finally started to hit a stride amongst sponsors that help drive major sports throughout the world.

According to a recent article by MarketWatch, a leading publication that tracks market trends for investors, the UFC has scored huge by signing on Anheuser-Busch and Harley Davidson.

Anheuser-Busch sponsors dozens of sports and leagues throughout the world, but its own market research led the beer manufacturer to elevate the UFC into the upper echelon of its priorities.

Tony Ponturo, the company’s vice president of global media and sports marketing, told MarketWatch’s William Spain, “We did some research against the male beer drinker aged 21 to 27 and (the UFC) was showing up second in interest (among sports) to the NFL and almost half of that group said they were avid fans.”

Although the UFC hasn’t reached National Football League or Major League Baseball (MLB) status with the brewer, Ponturo said that his company’s deal with the UFC is on par with deals Anheuser-Busch has with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL).

Harley-Davidson’s senior director of integrated consumer marketing, Scott Beck, told MarketWatch that although the motorcycle maker has small deals with “pretty much all major sports,” the company’s commitment to the UFC is its largest.

Both company representatives expressed specific interest in the UFC’s ability to extend into the global market and its attraction to the younger demographic.