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Mixed martial arts fighters back low-cost carrier

November 8, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championshp) announced in New York at the weekend that it has entered a new multi-territory partnership with a prominent Asian low-cost carrier well-known to Australians.

The airline is AirAsia, which will serve as the global UFC brand’s first-ever “Official Airline” sponsor.

The partnership, which encompasses Asia and Australia, began on Saturday, 4 November, during the UFC 217: Bisping vs St-Pierre fight event, live from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Bisping vs St-Pierre was a bloody battle (meaning blood was spilled) but it commanded a huge audience.

“This deal is an indication of how much UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts have grown in Asia and around the world,” UFC vice president of Asia-Pacific Kevin Chang said.

“AirAsia is an innovative and fast-growing brand, we thank them for the support and we’re looking forward to creating engaging branded content for fight fans and AirAsia customers to enjoy.”

AirAsia group chief executive Tony Fernandes said that in many ways, UFC’s rapid rise as a global phenomenon paralleled that of AirAsia.

No arguing with this team! UFC-AirAsia

“The UFC expanded from their first event in Denver to the rest of the US and then to Asia-Pacific and the world, while AirAsia grew from a small domestic airline into Asia’s largest low-cost carrier that now flies to the US. Opposite directions but chasing the same dream, and we are thrilled to team up with a brand that shares our drive and vision.”

AirAsia will activate the new deal internationally during UFC’s historic inaugural event in mainland China at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs Gastelum on Saturday, 25 November 2017 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. As part of this collaboration, AirAsia will obtain rights to signage and branding inside UFC’s Octagon during the event in Shanghai and select international UFC events in 2018.

An AsiAsia statement issued yesterday said that with this partnership, AirAsia would also serve as presenting sponsor of select UFC Fan Experiences throughout the region “and promote a national sweepstakes campaign where two fans will win a UFC VIP Experience during an event in 2018”.

“The airline brand will also be integrated across multiple UFC-based social and digital platforms, as well as having a presence during live-event broadcasts and on UFC and AirAsia will also jointly sponsor content featured on Weibo and WeChat platforms in China.”

Along with integration during international UFC events, this sponsorship will also deliver exciting co-branded content to Asian fight fans via AirAsia and UFC’s media platforms. These initiatives include monthly training sessions featuring UFC athletes and members of the UFC Performance Institute’s staff.

UFC and AirAsia will also make history by selecting the first-ever UFC scholarship program recipient. As part of this program, one Asia-based athlete will be awarded an all-expenses-paid scholarship that includes travel to the United States and training at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The issued statement described Las Vegas-based UFC as “a premium global sports brand and the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world”, acquired in 2016 by global sports, entertainment and fashion leader, Endeavor, together with strategic partners Silver Lake Partners and KKR.

It said AirAsia was the largest low-cost carrier in Asia by passengers carried, serving a network of more than 120 destinations.

Edited by Peter Needham

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