By Barry Janoff
March 3, 2017: Calling it "an industry first," T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has entered into an extended multi-year agreement that names the UFC an "anchor tenant" of the venue.
The partnership — which establishes T-Mobile Arena as UFC’s "exclusive Las Vegas arena destination" — is, according to both parties, the first time that a "global sports brand, other than a professional sports franchise, has been named as an anchor tenant for a sports and entertainment venue."
Financial details were not released.
The agreement was negotiated by UFC owners WME | IMG, LLC; Zuffa, LLC; and the ownership partners of T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas Arena Co. partners AEG and MGM Resorts International.
The venue's only other anchor tenant to date is the NHL’s expansion Vegas Golden Knights, which begin play next season.
The alliance is relatively organic. UFC is headquartered in Las Vegas and has hosted three major events there since it opened in April 2016: UFC 200, UFC 202 and UFC 207.
A fourth event, UFC 209, took place on March 4, a day after the alliance was revealed.
“Las Vegas has always been the home of UFC, and after more than a decade it is awesome to now have a historic venue deal in the Fight Capital of the World to make it official,” Dana White, president for UFC, said during a media event to unveil the alliance and support UFC 209.
T-Mobile has a naming rights deal for ten years valued at upward of $50 million, according to industry analysts.
Other venue marketing alliances include Founding Partners Optum, Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light), Toshiba, Schneider Electric, Bank of America, Black Clover, Coca-Cola and Cox.
Venue Partners include Jack Daniels, Tequila Patron, JBL by Harman and Grey Goose.
According to Bill Hornbuckle, president for MGM Resorts International, "We have enjoyed a tremendous partnership with UFC for many years and are excited to enter into this exclusive agreement at T-Mobile Arena, a first for the industry.
"While UFC calls Las Vegas home, there are few brands as powerful globally. We look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world for years to come for the kind of spectacular events and entertainment that can only be found in this city," said Hornbuckle.
Under terms of the pact, UFC will host a minimum of four events annually and have priority scheduling for its major events, such as International Fight Week.
"While UFC calls Las Vegas home, there are few brands as powerful globally. We look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world for years to come."
Marketing support will include "headlining the welcome sign in the lobby alongside the Vegas Golden Knights, as well as concourse activations, signage and retail space."
"From day one, AEG and MGM Resorts have been committed to developing a showplace for the very best in concerts, championship sporting events, awards shows and special events that would be unrivaled not only in Las Vegas but in our industries," Todd Goldstein, chief revenue officer for AEG, said in a statement.
"There is no doubt that UFC is synonymous with the biggest and best events today that attract unprecedented international audiences on platforms of all kinds. T-Mobile Arena is truly a one-of-a-kind, world-class arena that will create the most outstanding stage and atmosphere worthy of the incredible events of all kinds UFC and WME | IMG will bring to our venue and most importantly, our fans," said Goldstein.
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