Writer, blogger and soundbite machine Susan Gale said: “Sometimes, when two worlds collide, a better one is created.” It is highly unlikely that she had in mind either the world of mixed martial arts or that of the online casino industry, yet these apparently separate sectors have recently come together and could create something very big.
The meeting of these seemingly diverse worlds comes through the recent announcement that Fruity King Casino has just agreed a highly lucrative sponsorship deal with rising MMA star Tim Barnett. You can read the story here, and it represents the first such deal of its kind, but almost certainly not the last. Why might this particular sponsorship deal be such an important step for the two industries? Let’s find out.
The rise of online casinos
Unless you have spent the past year or so on the moon, you will be aware that online casinos are a massive growth industry. More seem to appear practically every day, and they are ploughing serious money into TV advertising, meaning their profile could not be higher.
The potential is obvious – most of us are attracted by the idea of winning big at blackjack or roulette, yet the idea of actually stepping into a casino can be daunting. What is the social etiquette, and will you end up losing all your money and the shirt off your back? The online alternative provides a safety net. You are sitting at home, nobody is watching you, and the online sites typically offer welcome deals to newcomers meaning you don’t even have to stake any real money.
Little wonder that the online gambling sector is seeing such remarkable growth and investment.
The rise of MMA
At the same time, another revolution has been going on, in a seemingly unrelated area. Mixed martial arts, and specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have gained enormous traction with viewers and fans across the globe. Names like Anderson “The Spider” Silva and Joanna “Champion” J?drzejczyk have become household names, and when the UFC’s biggest star, Conor McGregor, took on Floyd Maywether in a recent boxing bout, the biggest pre-fight debate was as to which of them had the biggest fanbase.
A match made in heaven
The fact that these two disciplines should come together is not so surprising on reflection. There is already a healthy link between online casinos and sports – after all, many keen gamblers also like to place a bet on a sporting event, and vice versa, so the potential for cross selling to an interested target demographic is strong.
Perhaps the most notable part of the deal concerns the choice of Tim Barnett. Make no mistake, he is a talent to be reckoned with and is undefeated since bursting onto the scene in early 2016. But unlike McGregor, he is not your typical boisterous, mouthy fighter. A man who takes health seriously and is a committed vegan, he engages regularly with his fanbase via social media on the subjects that are important to him.
A new type of deal for a new type of fighter? The fans seem to love it, so expect it to become the norm in the years to come.