SBD/November 6, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With UFC Global Marketing Head Mike Mossholder

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Mossholder likes to watch animated movies with (or without) his daughters
UFC Senior VP/Global Marketing Partnerships MIKE MOSSHOLDER has had his hand in marketing for all kinds of sports properties, from his time with former MLS club Tampa Bay Mutiny to a stint with the Dolphins, followed by prominent positions with Churchill Downs and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But Mossholder, who joined the UFC in '10, was sold on his role with the MMA promotion as one of "only a couple jobs out there in sports that are truly international, global, and have this kind of growth capability." He spoke with THE DAILY about moving into Latin America, the underlying issues in major U.S. sports, and relaxing to the sounds of a certain soulful singer.

Early career moves...
My personality was, I want to go where the best are, and if the best are in the NFL and they’re in corporate sales, then I’m going to go work there. I took the lowest-paying, lowest-title job that was offered to me and went to work as a senior manager with the Dolphins, and three years later I was a department head. When I decided to leave the Dolphins, it was because as big as the NFL is, you’re still, as a team person, you’re selling in a regional format.

Most of my time at work is spent thinking about...
International markets. We've had huge revenue increases in the last two years in the U.S., but as we expand the total number of events that we’re going to host, and the majority of those are international, it's monetizing these new events. The NBA does a tremendous job pitching their product out around the world. But if you take a product and annualize it by taking enough events into that market, that's ultimately how you're going to build fan avidity over the long term, and you're going to be able to monetize it. Taking not preseason games, not exhibitions, but taking the full impact of a UFC event into a market, and not just have it once a year but multiple times a year builds up the fan base. That allows my team to go out and sell annualized deals, that includes not just what you would consider media rights, like the logo on the canvas and other graphic packages, but consumer product brands, retail-driven promotions that allow the fan base to engage with your product.

Global product, targeting specific markets...
When I started at the UFC we were a staff of four, three years ago at this time. We'll be a staff of somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 in the next six months. What we've been able to do is monetize the individual markets. We have offices in those markets and we have sales and servicing representatives. So we have our HQ here in Vegas, we have sales and services people in Toronto, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, London and Singapore. I do travel in and work with my team; I just was in Brazil for a week. I've been to Brazil five times in the last year-and-a-half, and Australia multiple times, and we'll do the same with the other markets.

Appealing to the Hispanic audience...
The Hispanic, Latin American culture has an affinity for boxing; it is a much higher rate than the majority of the population. With (UFC heavyweight champion) CAIN VELASQUEZ being the face of that, it's very much an important part of transitioning that group. As the majority of other boxing fans continue to move over to MMA, that Hispanic crowd is very important to us. Cain will absolutely be the face of what we do as we move into Latin America.

The sports industry needs more of...
The U.S. sports think like U.S. sports. This mentality that if you're successful in America, you're successful, just isn't going to work as this globe continues to be smaller and the ability to interact with people in Asia and EMEA and South America. U.S. sports need to pick up the pace on what they're doing.

Smartphone of choice...

I use the Samsung Note, the Galaxy Note. Graphics, size, if I don’t have my iPad and I need to do some work on that while I’m travelling, it’s much more dynamic than the size and apps on the iPhone.

Best lunch in Vegas...
That’s an easy answer. We have an executive kitchen, and we have the two best chefs in the city. When we bring guests here to Vegas and have them to the kitchen, it’s always a wow moment for them. The two chefs came over from Nobu and they make amazing meals every day.

Guilty pleasure...
Any animated movie. Me and my daughters go to animated movies, and if their mom happens to take them to one when I’m travelling and I miss it, I’ll want to watch it anyway. I have a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old.

Smooth operator...
With music, I’m all over the board, anywhere from U2 and VAN HALEN to RIHANNA, big SADE fan, those are kind of my core. As for TV, I'm an advertiser's worst nightmare. I watch everything on DVR and I'm a lot into the pay channels.
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