Marines ends sponsorship with UFC
The U.S. Marines announced that it will not extend its sponsorship of the UFC via ESPN’s Josh Gross (and Stripes.com). The sponsorship with the UFC ended November 30th and the budget for its sponsorship have been assigned elsewhere according to Major John Caldwell, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command.
According to Maj. Caldwell via Stripes.com:
“Due to evolving mission requirements, budgetary constraints, marketing analysis and the recommendation of our contracted advertising agency, resources previously allocated to the endeavor have been applied to alternate priorities,” he said.
The decision to cease the business relationship has to do in part with a push by member of Congress to end all sports sponsorships. Earlier this year, the U.S. Army pulled its NASCAR sponsorship. Also, the article infers that the Culinary Union Local 206 may have influenced the decision to pull its support from the UFC.
“The Marine Corps continues to stress strong personal values in markets that are viewed by young men and women who are interested in military service,” Caldwell said.
The veterans committee of UNITE HERE, a union that represents 250,000 hotel, food service, restaurant, textile, industrial laundry and gaming industry workers, said values were the heart of their argument against the partnership between the Marine Corps and UFC.
The termination of the U.S. Marines sponsorship is a blow to the UFC as its signage and brand was a mainstay during UFC events including the sponsored “Tale of the Tape” and “prep point,” the mat where fighters were greased, during PPVs. It may be that the Marines were not receiving enough of a return on its investment in its sponsorship despite the fact that the UFC’s demo of young adult males is the audience the Marines would likely want. The union influence, if true, is another thorn in the side for the UFC. The UFC must now seek another prime sponsor to replace the hole that the Marines have left.