Although you may not know it, 1993 was a pivotal year for US sports. First, there was the opening up of the world wide web – something that would go on to transform our relationship with sports. And then there was the birth of two major US sports properties, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and MLS (Major League Soccer). The fast growth of these two properties is not unrelated to the digital revolution that began in the same year.
By sporting standards, the rise in awareness of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and MLS (Major League Soccer) has been significant. In 25 years, the properties have gone from launch to being two of the best-recognised brands in US sports.
But of the two, it is the UFC whose story is in some ways more remarkable. For while the MLS has done a great job developing a brand around an internationally recognised sport, the UFC has done the same with what, in mixed martial arts, was once a virtually unknown discipline.
But the UFC’s success doesn’t end at US shores – the property has quickly turned domestic awareness into international standing, developing a competition which is now recognised from Brazil to Indonesia. Our chart below shows the progress it has made in growing awareness across the world (the data covers the year so far).
While UFC 229 just took place in Las Vegas this past weekend, you can be sure that fans from all over the world were watching. Who else could have imagined global significance by our 25th birthday?