SBD/April 21, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

CFL Tiger-Cats Sponsor UFC Fighter Mark Hominick For First Card In Toronto

Hominick (r) will wear CFL Tiger-Cats shorts during his fight at UFC 129
UFC fighter Mark Hominick yesterday announced a sponsorship deal with the CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats for his fight against Jose Aldo at UFC 129 on April 30 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, according to Darren Yourk of the GLOBE & MAIL. The Ontario native will "risk a bit of his home field advantage by wearing a Ticats hat as he enters the octagon and the team's logo on his shorts during the fight," which will take place at the home stadium of the CFL Toronto Argonauts. As part of the partnership, Hominick "will also be featured at 'MMA Night' at Ivor Wynne Stadium when the Ticats host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on July 16" (GLOBESPORTS.com, 4/20). YAHOO SPORTS' Andrew Bucholtz reported the Tiger-Cats also are "running a contest which includes tickets to UFC 129 as a prize." The sponsorship is an "innovative move by the Tiger-Cats, and it's one that makes a lot of sense for them." The UFC is "wildly popular in Canada," so the Tiger-Cats "have essentially bought themselves some prime advertising space before a record in-person crowd." MMA fans are an "excellent demographic for the Tiger-Cats to reach out to," as the fan base "includes a lot of people in their 20s and 30s, and that's a group the CFL would do well to try and draw." From an "image perspective, it's also a good thing for a CFL team to position itself as on the side of MMA; many established sports leagues and brands have somewhat turned up their noses at the UFC, and that's probably not a smart long-term strategy given the sport's rapidly growing popularity" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/20). In Hamilton, Scott Radley writes the association is the "most clever and inspired marketing move the Ticats have made in a while." No sport is "growing as fast as mixed martial arts and the UFC in particular." Attaching the team's brand "to this elevator can only help establish its coolness," as well as "boost its street cred" (HAMILTON SPECTATOR, 4/21).
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