Reebok set to cash in on UFC 205 with New York inspired apparel marking the sport's legalisation in the state

UFC 205 marks the UFC's arrival in the state for the first time

Reebok has unveiled an exclusive New York-inspired range of apparel as part of its marketing efforts to promote the UFC’s inaugural event in the city, after state lawmakers voted to legalize mixed martial arts (MMA).

As the UFC’s exclusive apparel partner, Reebok is now looking to capitalise on the organisation’s most anticipated event ever: UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden, where its biggest athlete, Conor McGregor, headlines a title bout against lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

The new collection marks the first time that Reebok has created a new range of products for a specific UFC event and will consist of unique weigh-in and walkout gear, including headwear, t-shirts, hoodies and shorts.

Given the levels of promotion and anticipation around the event, which has broken the all-time ticketing gate record for the iconic venue, it’s little wonder that Reebok would look to capatalise on the occasion.

“We’re excited to reveal our UFC City Pack: New York leading up to our historic event next Saturday at Madison Square Garden,” said UFC senior vice president of global consumer products, Tracey Bleczinski.

“This New York inspired and limited edition product line represents the strength of the city and its rich fighting history, while paying homage to the historical significance of hosting our first event at The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

Reebok Combat design director, Marc Leonardo, said: “New York City holds an unmatched fighting heritage derived through a legendary boxing culture and history.

“The NYC-inspired UFC Fight Kit embodies the famous fight culture of the city. The iconography was raw and gritty – which evokes a mood that mirrors the community around New York City that is enamored with combat sports. The leather jacket and partnership with Schott N.Y.C was an exciting build to the pack, giving it a fusion of grit and style that NYC is synonymous for.”

In March this year, state lawmakers voted to legalize MMA in the state, giving the fastest growing sport in the world and its sponsors entry into New York's lucrative advertising market.

Following the news that the sport had been legalised, UFC president, Dana White, said: “It's the media capital of the world, so it's very important. Our presence in New York creates a lot more awareness for agencies and brands."

The rebellious characteristic of the sport has served as a ideal marketing platform for some brands, including Harley-Davidson, which has been a sponsor since 2007.

The fast growing global popularity of MMA will also serve as an impetus for brands to seek out sponsorship opportunities, especially since WME-IMG promised to utilise all its global media assets to grow the company following its recent $4bn takeover.

In addition to this the cost of partnering with the UFC is reportedly only 10% of the sum that a brand would need to fork out to work with the likes of NFL.

Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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