Friday, June 01, 2007

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Receives Most Buzz Among Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Leagues

I did a little more research about MMA leagues over the past few days. I sampled 34,228 messages between January 1, 2007 and May 31, 2007. UFC receives the most buzz among MMA leagues; however, consumer discussion is more negative toward UFC. But why is this and is it a bad thing?

UFC receives more buzz do to the popularity of its individual fighters (i.e. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture). Consumers frequently discuss competitive matches. Negative discussion toward UFC comes from fans who are upset over their favorite fighter losing. It is important to note negative discussion indirectly affects UFC. Negative discussion shows that its fans are very passionate about the sport. Consumers are not complaining about the quality of UFC's matches or image issues, such as within Major League Baseball (MLB) discussion (i.e. Josh Hancock's death).

IFL (International Fight League) receives the second most buzz and for different reasons. Consumers talking about UFC primarily mention its wrestlers. It's popularity is based on individualism. On the other hand, consumers mentioning the IFL discuss the team concept.

This picture shows some of the leading terms associated with UFC discussion. As you a can see, UFC's wrestlers are brought up quite a bit within its discussion.

In contrast, IFL discussion is concentrated around the team concept.

The trend line below depicts some of the key issues driving online buzz among within MMA discussion. UFC clearly receives the most buzz, which is caused by consumers discussing key matches and wrestlers.

Top Sites For MMA Discussion:
3. (Do General Motors (GM) enthusiasts like UFC?) I know UFC doesn't have a big sponsor yet. I see a sponsorship / marketing opportunity here! Note to GM - GM enthusiasts like MMA.
6. alt.ufc
13. (Another GM site!)

UFC clearly dominates MMA fighting discussion right now. However, I do feel there is room for some of the other leagues to grow. I like the fact the IFL focuses on the team concept; however, they may benefit by merging with one or more of the smaller MMA leagues. They could create a hybrid league where some fighters are members of teams, while others wrestle on their own. This will allow IFL to keep its identity, yet make itself comparable to UFC. And IFL should keep its identity. Focusing on the team concept is a great way to differentiate itself from UFC.

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