The UFC, a sport that has aggressively sought to monetize every aspect of its Octagon, has announced a lucrative sponsorship deal with PRIME, a brand founded by YouTube celebrities and former boxing rivals, Logan Paul and KSI. This three-year agreement, worth “high-seven figures annually” according to the Sports Business Journal, replaces the previous five-year sponsorship with Bodyarmor.
Incorporating PRIME into the newly launched “Octagon-shaped Cornermen Stool,” the UFC is rebranding the red and blue corners as the “PRIME Hydration Recovery Zones.” The deal is set to commence at UFC 284, and its implementation in broadcasts, particularly with the awkward integration of PRIME into the commentary, will be intriguing to observe.
The press release states that PRIME will also enjoy “key brand placement” during UFC PPV weigh-ins that emphasize the significance of proper hydration. This new deal runs parallel to the UFC’s numerous lucrative sponsorships, including Monster Energy as the “official energy drink” and “official water,” Modelo as the “official beer,” Jose Cuervo as the “official tequila,” Howler Head as the “official flavored whiskey,” and Wildcard as the “official ready to drink vodka.”
In 2015, the UFC banned outside sponsorships to prevent fighters from appearing unprofessional with excessive advertisements, much like NASCAR vehicles. However, the sponsorship market has since shifted, with payments directed primarily towards the UFC, which now generates over a billion dollars annually and continues to grow. Meanwhile, UFC fighters are estimated to receive a mere 17% of the revenue, in line with the promotion’s target for years. This revenue share pales in comparison to the near 50% in other major sports leagues and the even higher shares, ranging from 60% to over 80%, in boxing.