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Volume 22 No. 35
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PBR offers blueprint for WME-IMG on UFC promotion, content possibilities

Now that WME-IMG has the UFC, what will the Hollywood agency do with it?

To a large extent, WME-IMG says, the Professional Bull Riders represents a road map for the UFC in its promotion and content opportunities.

Riding high: WME-IMG bought the PBR for $100 million in April 2015.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
The agency bought the PBR for $100 million in April 2015 and used its promotional muscle to help it set new marks for TV viewership and attendance in its first year of new ownership.

A look inside WME-IMG’s plans for the UFC show that it will employ many of the same tactics it used with the PBR — a focus on event promotion using WME talent, a new TV deal with CBS that doubled the rights fee, and a new PBR over-the-top channel.

The PBR in August will unveil a brand campaign  that features the voice of Steven Tyler, a WME client, performing a new song specifically for the PBR. That campaign will hit TV, print, billboard, radio and in-venue locations next month.

WME also used its connections to place PBR champion J.B. Mauney on CBS’s “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert, another client.

A six-episode PBR docu-series featuring Brazilian bull riders will premiere on Netflix next month, showing the capabilities of IMG’s content team led by Mark Shapiro.

The UFC also represents another property for WME-IMG’s global partnership group to sell. While the UFC has its own sales team, WME-IMG’s chief sales group, led by Greg D’Alba, president of global sales and marketing, will play a role.