It still remains a niche sport, but those who have been able to carve their niche in the niche world of Mixed Martial Arts continue to find new ways to speak directly to the core audience with some traditional sports and entertainment branding opportunities, ranging from memorabilia deals to figurines and collectable cards. The MMA site sherdog.com had a good look at the MMA mainstream adaptations this week, singling out companies like Round Five and others that took the smart business approach, looking at the key traditional revenue sources and attach themselves to stars and make them a part of the brand development process. The results have been very strong for those who have picked the smart ways to grow steadily in a very fluid sport. Now obviously the UFC remains the dominant brand, and their attachments continue to do well. However there is no clear number two in the sport, and companies who can find the niche, invest smartly in their product that they understand and then use the viral and digital world to reach that core consumer, still have a chance to succeed. The lack of major brands in the space continues, but there is a slow and steady rise in targeted spends and activations, so those who could potentially partner brand with activation product in a cost efficient way can still make inroads in a relatively new business environment. Nice hit for the sport.
Some other good reads…the Washington Post had a very encouraging piece on National Public radio's growth, a spot most sports marketers don’t traditionally look to for brand exposure…the New York Post had a good “What's Next” for the World Baseball Classic…and the New York Times spelled out how the MLB Network will be making dollars in a challenged environment.