If the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor hasn’t crossed your media landscape yet, simply lift your head, shake the sand from your hair, and observe. A true omni-channel blitz is underway, and you never know when it will strike: will it be an ad for the pay-per-view event splashily interrupting CNN? Or Floyd Mayweather gamely tolerating the sketch comedy of James Cordon on late night? Or maybe you found out ages ago, via Dana White’s ambush appearances at major sporting events, first denying the possibility of a fight between UFC six-time world champion Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather’s eleven-time World Boxing Association champion, or later confirming McGregor had signed.
So, what’s going on? One talented and cocky young athlete – McGregor – is challenging a more accomplished and richer athlete – Mayweather— to a duel (boxing match, actually). What makes it interesting is that they come from different sports: mixed martial arts and boxing, respectively. Many articles tout the match as one between the two sports rather than two men, some stories predict the outcome, everyone mentions the money. Each athlete stands to make $110M on the fight. Your $100 to watch the fight is a drop in the ocean of profit for everyone who touches it.
What can we learn from a juggernaut event like this? Behind the P.T. Barnum-like antics of promoters is an intuitive and intense understanding of marketing. Here are three reasons we’re talking about this right now:
1. History loves a good challenger: This is nothing new. The first fight of this iconic type was the first major heavyweight bout of the gloved era in boxing: James J. Corbett versus John L. Sullivan in 1892. Sullivan had been a fearsome competitor in the 1880s and the first great sports hero of the sweet science – Corbett was the rising star who dominated the match and won. There’s a built-in narrative to the biggest boxing matches. Athletes don’t clash in routine sports seasons or according to rankings: they are called out.
Lesson: In marketing, we call this disruption. It may not be in good taste to call out the status quo directly, but if your category needs a shake-up, the way you position your product should challenge the leading brand. This match compels on multiple levels: McGregor and UFC are the young relative newcomers. The story hooks us in: we need the new to unseat the old – and we love to watch.
2. Audience up for grabs? UFC has been edging closer to overtaking boxing in the PPV world for several years. Both athletes give their respective sports a boost with this match. In June, estimates of total PPV buys was at 5.5 million – a larger draw than boxing’s most recent record-setting 4.6 million.
Lesson: What can we learn from this? One way to enlarge your audience is to look beyond your core audience into segments that are nearby by aligning yourself with another brand. You make tortilla chips? Seek out a salsa brand that aligns well with yours. There’s some risk involved – make sure the brand you partner with is on the rise and aligned with your brand values – but the reward is additional exposure that taps into existing brand loyalty.
3. The ‘money’ is in the details: One of the reasons Mayweather has been able to become one of the richest athletes in the world is that he demands control, and a piece of the revenue, from every aspect of the fight: he’s not just the fighter, he’s the promoter. And as a promoter, he negotiates a piece. Of. Everything. From concessions and merch sales to closed-circuit viewing. And what he doesn’t directly profit from, he strives to control.
Lesson: Don’t leave money on the table. Every marketing effort has potential opportunities to maximize your dollars. It adds up. At Marketing Architects, we utilize this in our media buying by leveraging our proprietary algorithm to purchase air time other DRM agencies miss. And we execute control over creative – at no cost to you – because it gives us greater opportunity to optimize and improve your creative throughout the life of your buy.To discuss your media needs, or talk odds on the big fight, call 800-700-7726.