UFC Tweaks Look and Feel in Preparation to go International

January 16, 2014 6:13 am by Daneul Summers

It’s tough to explain what “look and feel” is exactly. You have to understand that this sales tactic is what has kept businesses afloat for a very long time. It’s about your target demographic.

Though the product itself has to stay exactly the same because that is, after all, what the people want. But the people also want to have their cake and eat it too.

Meaning that though, in China, the Octagon may be the same and the over all feel of the sport is the same, but the ring girls’ outfits might have to be a little more reserved. But, in Brazil the shorts might be cut a little shorter and the outfits a bit more risqué.

WIth the UFC looking to spread their wings internationally in 2014 they’re going to have to learn, like any good fighter does, to adapt. They are going to have to learn how to tweak their marketing strategy enough to entice the local audience.

In 2013 the UFC held 16 international events including six in Brazil, four in Canada, three in the European and Middle Eastern countries, two in Asia, and one in Australia. The organization hopes to make a leap in numbers this year and are shooting for 26 events off of U.S. soil.

There are big plans for the UFC internationally for 2014 as the Zuffa-owned company has six local events in Asia and Europe, and events ranging from Brazil to Europe, Asia, and Canada. Four events within two weeks!

The UFC’s ultimate goal is to be able to produce these lavish events full of lights and sounds on their own. So, when the UFC shows up in China, they don’t have to rely on anybody but themselves to make sure the show is just right. And it can be assumed that the big dogs in Vegas have a close watch on the productions overseas events to make sure everything is up to par.

This is also a huge promotion for the newly release UFC “Fight Pass” in which citizens of the U.S. will still be able to keep up with all the action for only $9.99 a month. The UFC also plans to have events around the world in the cities that are packed with UFC fans, and this gives them an opportunity to see the big show in the flesh.

To make sure that everything is flowing like it should the UFC is sending their team of specialists with event operations, regulatory, production, and technical experience into the field with the UFC’s international relations crew stated UFC executive vice president of operations and productions Craig Borsari according to Las Vegas Review Journal’s Alan Snel.
“It’s a challenge. The goal is to put on a UFC event in an international (venue) that looks, sounds and feels like those in the United States, but will have a localized feel to it so that it’s relevant and speaks to the local audience,” Borsari said.
“We know what works here and we think the high-energy experience has a global appeal. We do not want to strip that down and change anything in terms of the energy. We want the signature look and feel of the UFC, but localize it to fans in that market.”

Meaning that Borsari has to watch his P’s and Q’s when dealing with foreign relations. There is a small margin of error when trying to mimic the explosive excitement that is a UFC event while still managing to balance of complying to tradition and culture. As I stated earlier, skimpy shorts in Brazil and a bit more reserved in China.

“It’s a daily or nightly conversation with headquarters making sure the show build-out meets UFC standards with meeting local market nuances, like having local voices on promos and element pieces,” said Borsari

The home base in Las Vegas plans on working closely with their colleagues across whatever pond they happen to cross for anything that they may need be it aid from local television companies that have equipment compatible with UFC systems or even local T.V. personalities.

The UFC is contracted with experience staffers in offices in Beijing, Sao Paulo, Singapore, London, and Toronto.

“[The UFC’s] Vegas [offices] will be dictating how the show is built out,” said Borsari. “Approving all elements and format of the show. We will find local production crews and work with them and enlisting freelancers like camera operators.”

For example, during a recent event in Singapore roughly 60-70 freelancers were hired for various production work in the small 5,000 seat capacity venue. In comparison, the UFC has about 100 staff members that run the show according to Borsari.

However, the over seas productions are in a way a bigger show even in a smaller venue considering the staff is responsible for maintaining the lights, music, the videos that run in between fights and making sure that the language barriers are broken.

“The videos will be catered to the market,” Borsari said. “UFC is high energy and the variations of what that energy will be is customized to Brazil, Japan or wherever the event is. There is not one piece or the element that runs in English. In Brazil, everything is in Portuguese. In Japan, everything is in Japanese.”

It sounds like the UFC has everything under control and the Ultimate Fighting Championship is spreading its wings and ready to soar around the world. And with a ten event jump from last year it looks like its all looking up for the UFC going international.

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