UFC Fight Pass

UFC appoint WePlay as their global digital media agency to drive subscription sales for UFC Fight Pass

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UFC Fight Pass

UFC appoint WePlay as their global digital media agency to drive subscription sales for UFC Fight Pass

WePlay’s work with UFC Fight Pass in 2020/21 delivered a 30% increase in subscriptions at a cost per acquisition (CPA) 60% lower than the pre-campaign target.

However, new challenges quickly emerged in 2022, calling for an adapted strategy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought sanctions – most notably the freezing of the SWIFT payment system in Russia – that would translate into a projected 25% loss in the subscriber base in a core UFC market and hit projections for growth in the year ahead.

Rising gas prices that resulted from the conflict also accelerated a global cost of living crisis, increasing pressure on consumer spending power and making discretionary purchases such as OTT subscriptions less attractive to general audiences. This was especially problematic in markets with solid UFC coverage elsewhere through media rights partners.

This necessitated a recalibrated campaign with a focus on highly engaged UFC fans in historically underserved territories.

We began by filling out the picture of the UFC’s international audience using platform, panel-based and partner insights.

The goal was to identify territories with a strong UFC and mixed martial arts (MMA) fanbase. However, we wanted to prioritise markets with low barriers to entry for a dedicated SVOD product – such as an absence of local TV deals – and where UFC Fight Pass would be produced in local languages and carry coverage of MMA events from regional partners.

We then overlaid a consolidated list of target markets with those where core biddable platforms from companies like Meta and Google were in heavy use. We also planned campaigns that would reach those markets at moments of peak interest in UFC Fight Pass, such as in the build-up to major fight nights or locally relevant promotions such as UFC London.

Creative assets were adapted to foreground regional stars like Israel Adesanya in Australia or Paddy Pimblett in the UK, while social content was also translated into the languages that UFC Fight Pass was available in locally.

We then optimised campaigns to enable more effective retargeting, prioritising social and search platforms that had historically delivered better conversion rates. We developed video content at three different lengths for the first half of 2022 – at 15 seconds, 30 seconds and 60 seconds – and used watch times to sort tagged viewers by levels of engagement.

We then retargeted those viewers with paid social campaigns and programmatic videos to turn the strongest prospects into subscribers.

The partnership has proven to be a global success, with a record number of subscriptions to the platform. Combining strategy, media and technology we have achieved:

1 award

SportsPro OTT Gold Award for Best Marketing Strategy


reduction in CPA (vs target)


increase in subscriptions from non-EN language markets


increase in retargeting conversion rate