By: Britt Johnson
The NBA, NFL, and other professional sports leagues are all too familiar with handing down fines to athletes (and owners/coaches) who violate their social media policies. The UFC has no interest in collecting money from its own athletes. Instead, they are doing the reverse in handing out the cash—$240,000 annually to be exact.
This week UFC president Dana White announced the first-ever incentive-based social media program for fighters during the UFC Summit in Las Vegas where more than 300 fighters were required to go through Digital Royalty University social media training. The allotted money will be dispersed as quarterly bonuses to fighters who make the most impact with their personal Twitter accounts.
Competition was in the air as the program was announced to more than 300 fighters at the annual UFC Summit at the Red Rock Casino in Vegas. Thousands of fans, fighters and media outlets followed along here using the #UFCSummit Hashtag where thousands of tweets were exchanged real-time throughout the week. Mashable and Sports Business Journal also covered the news.
The UFC understands the power of social media. The goal for the incentive program is to encourage the athletes to embrace these new communication tools and increase fan engagement. The UFC and related Twitter accounts are already known for their fighter-to-fighter interactions. The heightened engagement will strengthen the organization’s network, allowing for quick message delivery, more fighter-to-fan interaction and most importantly it provides exclusive value to new and existing fans.
Starting June 1st, Stikeforce and UFC fighters will be divided into four groups depending on their number of followers. From those groups, three winners will be named in the following categories, each receiving $5,000 for most followers gained, highest percentage of followers gained and most creative campaign.
A social media powerhouse himself, Dana knows the influence Twitter followers carry. Factor in a few hundred additional social media-savvy athletes, and you have a force to be reckoned with.