SBJ/Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

7-Eleven moves into national sports sponsorship with new UFC deal

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7-Eleven has signed its first national deal with a sports property, agreeing to become the official convenience store of the UFC.

Under the terms of the agreement, 8,400 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. and Canada will participate in UFC promotions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Starting Friday, the UFC and 7-Eleven will launch a sweepstakes in which customers can win prizes by peeling stickers off the store’s signature Big Gulp fountain drinks. There will be 1.8 million prizes available, ranging from food and beverages and discounts on UFC Fight Pass subscriptions to replica UFC championship belts to a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Big Gulp cups will feature a UFC peel-and-win sweepstakes.
7-Eleven has had sponsorships with sports teams, such as the Detroit Red Wings and the Portland Trail Blazers, said Maria Trujillo, 7-Eleven director of integrated marketing. “We have had some regional, smaller partnerships, but nothing on a national scale, like we are about to do with the UFC,” she said.

The agreement with the UFC is set to expire at the end of the year, but 7-Eleven may extend it, depending on the results, Trujillo said. “We do a lot of in-and-out promotions. But if this is something that truly has legs, we would love to see an extension of the platform,” she said.

The UFC has not had an official convenience store partner, said Brette Sadler, UFC vice president of global partnership activation.

“It’s great to get in front of these customers,” Sadler said. “The exposure that 7-Eleven is coming with, as far as point-of-sale, banners, really dressing the store, is something we haven’t had before, so it’s a huge footprint for us in both Canada and the U.S.”

The UFC and 7-Eleven have worked together before when other UFC partners, such as Anheuser-Busch and Monster Energy, did activations at 7-Eleven stores. Conversations between the two companies started as a result of those activations, Sadler and Trujillo said.

7-Eleven and the UFC shared data about their customer bases before the agreement, Trujillo said, adding that the sport’s fan base of millennials was particularly attractive. Through their shared research, they found that of the UFC fans who shop at convenience stores, only one in four shopped at 7-Eleven. “We felt it was a really big opportunity to tap into that c-store shopper that wasn’t shopping at 7-Eleven,” Trujillo said.


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