UFC has revealed a new deal with virtual branding firm 4D Sight that will place the logos of various MMA sponsors digitally across the Octagon canvas in select UFC telecasts.
The multi-year partnership is an extension of the initial pilot between both companies launched in 2021 that aims to deliver an upgraded broadcast for viewers and sponsors by localising active brand marketing campaigns during UFC events through the use of new virtual ad technology.
Grant Norris-Jones, UFC Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships, said: “4D AI opens up a world of opportunity for UFC to maximise corporate partnerships by localising brand exposure and creating greater relevance and engagement with viewers.
“This tech is a game changer in branded integrations with one of the most visible sports settings in the world, the UFC Octagon.”
Utilising 4D Sight’s AI technology, the UFC can ‘hyper-target’ brand exposure by tweaking what viewers see in terms of logo placements throughout live broadcasts, depending on the geographical and commercial context of the region the event is being shown in.
This would eliminate the limitations of physical brand placements on the canvas, significantly raising the UFC’s appeal for sponsors looking to market their business through flagship live events.
Erhan Ciris, Founder and CEO of 4D Sight, added: “We are personalising a painted logo on a mat or an empty wall in a video game at the regional and individual level – enabling use cases such as covering sports betting ads in specific regions or replacing an alcohol brand for an underage viewer.
“This is all happening in real-time with no room for error – real-time video content understanding enables real-time content generation cycle with infinite ending options”
The initial rollout of the 4D AI capabilities will happen during the international feeds of a select number of UFC Pay-Per-View broadcasts.
Alon Cohen, Senior Vice President, Research and Development at the UFC, concluded: “Virtual ad integration is something we have been experimenting with for some time, but we discovered we needed a downstream solution – one that could place logos on the Octagon canvas using computer vision to parse the scene and dynamically mask around fighters, the ref and all of our on-screen graphics.
“4D Sight has provided the only solution that is capable of working alongside how we shoot our sport. We’re looking forward to working with them to use this technology to enhance the value we provide our brand partners.”