Entain has signed a two-year contract renewal with the UFC in Australia and New Zealand, swapping its Neds brand with Ladbrokes Australia as the MMA promotion’s partner.

Neds, which like Ladbrokes Australia is an online sportsbook brand, has been a partner of the UFC since 2021. It now seems that Entain feels its Ladbrokes Australia brand could benefit from the visibility the partnership offers.

The Ladbrokes Australia logo will be displayed during UFC broadcasts in Australia and New Zealand as a result of the partnership, whilst the company will also work with local athletes as brand ambassadors.

“We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Entain for a further two years,” Nick Smith, Vice President, Head of International Business Development, Global partnerships, UFC & WWE, at the promotions’ parent company, TKO Group, was quoted on tipster site Bets.com.au.

“Since 2021, Entain has raised the bar for our international partnerships with their commitment to high-quality content and offerings for UFC fans in Australia. 

“To now have the strength of the Ladbrokes brand on board, we’re excited to produce even more great activity for fans right across Australia and New Zealand.”

UFC – and MMA in general – has a strong following in Australia and New Zealand, which are home to a number of prominent fighters including world champions. The promotion has marketing potential in both countries, which have a strong appetite for sport in general.

Current UFC featherweight champion Volkanovski fights out of Wollongong, New South Wales, whilst Nigeria-born former two-time middleweight champion Israel Adesanya resides in Auckland, New Zealand, for example.

The partnership is an interesting deviation for Entain, however, with the company having stated back in 2022 that it was planning on a reduction of its sports sponsorship activity to reduce costs, but also against the backdrop of increased criticism of betting advertising in Australian public and political life.

Entain CMO, Mel Kenneday, remarked: “The partnership between the UFC and Entain has been a highly successful one over the past three years with Neds and we are thrilled to keep the UFC partnership in the Entain family.

“Ladbrokes, with our outstanding content capabilities, is committed to enhancing the overall experience for UFC fans in Australia. Our innovative approach to wagering, coupled with the world-class entertainment that the UFC delivers, ensures an unmatched level of engagement for our customers. 2024 is set to be the biggest ever for the UFC, and Ladbrokes is thrilled to be a key player in this.”

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