Fri, Sep 23, 8:41am by Jonathan Zaun
As the run-up to November’s “Fight Night” event in Melbourne continues, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently inked a deal with Tabcorp to make the domestic race and sportsbook its official betting and wagering partner.
In a three-year deal which runs through August of 2019, Tab.com.au will serve as the UFC’s exclusive presenting sponsor for all live UFC events held in Australia. That means viewers will see Tab.com.au emblazoned on the mat of UFC’s famous octagon-shaped ring, while the fighters themselves will have logos and other Tabcorp insignia on their shorts and pads.
Furthermore, the UFC’s website and social media outlets will also feature Tab.com.au links and branding.
Tom Wright, who serves as Executive Vice President and General Manager for the UFC in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, offered the following appraisal of the Tabcorp deal in a statement:
“We are delighted to be in business with TAB.com; we look forward to working with them as we continue to grow our sport not only in Australia, but around the world.”
“This is the most significant, meaningful and fully integrated marketing partnership ever for the UFC in Australia. It’s one of those all encompassing kinds of relationships that brands always like to have with an organisation that knows Australia and knows its market very, very well.”
Craig Nugent, who serves as the chief operating officer of wagering and media at Tabcorp, echoed those sentiments in his own statement:
“TAB.com.au is proud to be the first Australian-owned and operated UFC partner; this partnership reflects UFC’s growing popularity among our customers.”
A spokesperson for Tabcorp, meanwhile, described the rising popularity of UFC within Australia’s thriving sports betting market, as the sport has carved out a niche in only a short time:
“We have been betting on UFC for less than a year but already several fights are surpassing sports like A-League and Test cricket. We held nearly $900,000 on UFC 194 and nearly $700,000 on UFC 202, which exceeded this year’s A-League grand final and Australia’s most recent Test match against Sri Lanka.”
The sponsorship arrangement comes two months before UFC Fight Night 101 comes to Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on November 27th. The card for that event is slated to showcase several of Australia’s top fighters, including middleweight contender Robert Whittaker, who was born in New Zealand but grew up in Sydney and fights out of Menai, New South Wales.
Slated to take on American contender Derek Brunson, Whittaker explained to UFC.com why mixed martial arts (MMA) is destined to become a hit Down Under:
“Aussies definitely love a good scrap. We’re a country that loves our sports and especially combat sports at that.”
The fans in Melbourne will also be treated to a pair of fights featuring local heroes Daniel Kelly and Jake Matthews, both of whom were born there. Kelly earned his way into the UFC back in 2013, after appearing on the reality television show ‘The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia.’
The Main Event will feature former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold taking on Brazil’s Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza.
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