For Business Owners: What Can We Learn from UFC and Boxing Marketing Strategies?

Though there is a certain thrill of watching champions fight for titles, seeing dreams coming true on camera, and witnessing the rise and fall of some champions in all their glory; the role of marketing in the UFC and boxing cannot be underestimated. 

This article explores the marketing strategies of UFC and boxing, highlighting their differences and what can be learned from each approach.

Let's start with the UFC's Marketing and Business Strategy and pick apart what they do best:

  1. Unified Branding: UFC operates as a single entity, akin to professional wrestling, with a strong focus on building up fighters' personas and stories to draw in fans.
  2. Control Over Everything: UFC exercises control over all aspects, including regulations, contracts, and even matchmaking, ensuring a fixed price for every fighter.
  3. Storytelling: UFC places a heavy emphasis on promoting the personal stories of its fighters, fostering a deeper connection between fighters and fans.
  4. Simplified Earnings Structure: While UFC as an organization earns more due to in-house production, fighters may receive smaller paychecks compared to boxers.

For Boxing League's Marketing and Business Strategy, it is a slightly different approach and one that can be explained in a few ways:

  1. Diversity of Entities: Boxing comprises various entities, including multiple promoters and sanctioning bodies, creating a more fragmented landscape.
  2. Promoter-Driven Approach: In boxing, promoters actively seek and sign boxers, managing their careers and arranging fights.
  3. Protection of Legacy: Promoters and managers prioritize preserving a boxer's legacy, often resulting in fewer major fights.
  4. Traditional Marketing: Boxing relies on traditional marketing channels, such as print, live events, newspapers, and radio, alongside pay-per-view events.

Some of the key takeaways from both strategies are:

  1. Distribution Channels: UFC's focus on digital media contrasts with boxing's reliance on traditional avenues like print and live events.
  2. Accessibility: Both UFC and boxing offer pay-per-view options, with UFC partnering with ESPN+ and boxing broadcasting on Showtime PPV.
  3. Multiple Entities: UFC handles all aspects of the sport, while boxing involves numerous entities at every level of promotion.

And though they have both had immense success, it is important to know how the UFC could improve its strategy as well. Below we have highlighted a few ways of doing so:

  1. Fair Fighter Compensation: UFC can enhance its reputation by offering higher pay to fighters and allowing more sponsorships, aligning with modern ethical consumer expectations.
  2. Leveraging Digital Marketing: While UFC already utilizes social media, it can further optimize digital marketing tools to reach its younger audience effectively.

UFC and boxing employ distinct marketing strategies, each with its strengths and weaknesses. UFC's unified branding and storytelling techniques have garnered success, but improvements in fighter compensation and enhanced use of digital marketing could further solidify its position. Understanding the differences between these two combat sports' marketing approaches provides valuable insights for businesses and sports organizations aiming to engage their audiences effectively.




What can we learn from UFC and Boxing marketing strategies. Entrepreneur. Jenkins, R. 2021. Retrieved from