Blockchain logistics firm the VeChain Foundation has signed a multi-year marketing partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) worth nearly $100 million, becoming the UFC’s first-ever layer-1 blockchain partner.
The UFC is the largest promoter and event organizer for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and VeChain’s marketing assets and brand will be integrated across the UFC in live events, in-arena promotion, social media and other areas.
The deal is reportedly worth almost $100 million over a minimum five-year partnership, according to an anonymous source quoted by Sports Business Journal. The UFC’s senior vice president of global partnerships, Paul Asencio, said the UFC’s sponsorship revenues are up 30% from an already record-breaking 2021 as a result of the deal.
The partnership kicks off immediately and VeChain’s assets will start appearing on June 11 during a UFC event being held in Singapore.
VeChain is a business-focused layer-1 ecosystem with an emphasis on supply chain tracking. The partnership sees a big shift from Vechain’s frugal first quarter. A financial report released in May shows the VeChain Foundation only spent around $4 million in Q1, with less than $660,000 spent on marketing, but it did amass a huge $1.2 billion “war chest.”
VeChain said the partnership is “one of the deepest integrations within premier UFC assets of any sponsor in UFC history,” with the UFC estimating VeChain’s brand will reach 900 million television households in 175 countries.
As part of the deal, VeChain will own UFC’s official fighter rankings titles, now called the “UFC Rankings Powered by VeChain,” along with a branded presence inside the fighting ring at all events.
VeChain will further be promoted in-venue on prominent digital displays, and both companies will create content for the UFC’s social media and other digital platforms, which the UFC estimates will reach 200 million people.
An annual “Brand Ambassador fund” will also offer paid opportunities to UFC athletes participating in marketing activities for VeChain.
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The UFC has long partnered with blockchain and crypto companies. One of the UFC’s largest partnerships is its $175 million deal with Crypto.com, which saw the crypto exchange become the UFC’s “Cryptocurrency Platform Partner,” with fighters receiving fan bonuses in Bitcoin (BTC) through the partnership.
Crypto.com also released the first authorized UFC nonfungible token (NFT) collection in November 2021, and the UFC has continued to release more licensed NFTs with NFT developer Dapper Labs.
In March 2021, the crypto-only casino and sports betting platform Stake became UFC’s “First Official Betting Partner” for its Asia and Latin America markets.