SBD/December 13, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

UFC To License Fight Footage, Fighters' Likenesses For Online Slot Machines In U.K.

The UFC, owned in principal by Las Vegas casino operators Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, will announce today that it will license its fight footage and the names and likenesses of a dozen fighters to a gaming company that will use them in online slot machines in the U.K., with the potential to expand to other markets that sanction regulated online gaming. The deal, struck with Endemol Games U.K., will deliver UFC revenue based on a flat licensing fee, plus a percentage of the game’s handle, should the company net upward of $1M annually, said UFC Exec VP & General Counsel Lawrence Epstein. Endemol Games is a division of Dutch-based Endemol, the independent television production company with credits that include "Big Brother," "Deal or No Deal" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Its gaming division, launched last year, has created popular slot games based on its shows and others, most notably "Deal or No Deal," which has taken off both in pubs and at home in the U.K. “Everybody wants to make money, but even more important than that, this is a great extension of our brand,” Epstein said. “Endemol has a great track record of taking great brands and creating very successful games online.” UFC fans have shown a propensity for online gaming, Epstein said, pointing to a sponsorship deal the company landed with Full Tilt Poker before the site was shut down in the U.S. Endemol will create a game that allows players to select a “champion” to feature throughout their play. Already established in the U.K., the UFC hopes Endemol’s global distribution network will help it expand elsewhere. “One thing we’re blessed with is international reach,” Epstein said. “When you look at opportunities to take the brand around the world, this is pretty effective and efficient.”
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