Ramping up the locked down fight night experience at UFC with Grabyo

Delivering a successful social strategy for UFC was more vital in 2020 than ever before for the mixed martial arts (MMA) firm. With fans unable to attend fight nights thanks to lockdowns, the content and production staff at UFC had to bring the entire experience to fans on connected platforms, remotely.

Move to the cloud

This was carried out via the cloud with technology from Grabyo. Using new content production strategies, the UFC social team created an experience that gives fans the chance to feel as if they are on-site, at the weigh-ins and in the front row of the Octagon.

From clips of weigh-ins and interviews leading up to fights, to real time highlights and live shoulder content, UFC created a second screen experience for fans that was almost as good as being there, for every fan around the world.

UFC uses its multi-platform video strategy to give fans the flexibility to follow the sport across any platform or device. It also uses its vast audience base to drive tune-in to its broadcast events with regional carriers, and its bespoke OTT offering, UFC Fight Pass.

UFC does this seamlessly with post-bumper ads and branded content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Managing its content within Grabyo, its digital team is able to share and disseminate assets in the cloud, ensuring every piece of content is created at a standard that the brand sets.

Quick hit

In January 2020, UFC launched a new live Facebook show, Quick Hits, to give fans access to fighters in short interview segments, broadcast live during headline events.

UFC focused its efforts on ensuring that its content, with its global appeal, was localised for regional audiences across the US and Canada, Latin America, EMEA and APAC.

Personalisation has been the focus of content teams in the sports media industry for some time; using Grabyo Studio, Grabyo’s real time clipping, editing and publishing service, UFC was able to streamline this process and ensure it was first to market with content across multiple regions simultaneously.

UFC has broadcast 20 Quick Hits shows to date, achieving 72.5 million video views and within that 26.7 million minutes of video has been watched. Quick Hits posts have hit over 121 million impressions.

In order to deliver Quick Hits with minimal crew and equipment, UFC used Grabyo Producer and Grabyo’s integration with LiveU to broadcast high-quality video directly to Facebook Live.

Clever workflow

The workflow was able to facilitate social distancing, while the presenter and talent could discuss the fights and interact in real time. UFC has evolved this workflow to include high-grade cameras and Grabyo’s remote contribution features to bring in remote guests for various segments of the shows.

David Shaw, senior vice president for international and content at UFC, commented: “UFC makes it a priority to produce high-quality content across all our digital media platforms. It is one of the primary ways UFC stays connected to a global fan base of more than 300 million. Grabyo plays a key part by helping us maintain an efficient workflow and content delivery system. With the tools provided by Graybo, our digital team is more agile and flexible than ever, ready to deliver the best content to our fans, 24/7.”

Added Mike Kelley, president of Americas at Grabyo: “Grabyo was proud to play our part in enabling UFC to succeed in 2020. The organisation has adapted and thrived to produce some exceptional content, while keeping the fan experience at the centre of everything they do.

“UFC has been a leader in technology innovation, leveraging social media and digital platforms to drive fan engagement and revenue. The Grabyo team, with the help of our leading cloud video platform, is excited to continue the partnership and achieve even greater success in 2021.”

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