The New York Times has a good story on the role WME/IMG, the talent agency that owns an undisclosed-but-substantial stake in the Frieze art fairs, is playing in coaching the UFC’s talent in how to better appeal to sponsors. It’s a good primer on the potential that comes with WME/IMG’s participation.
The Hollywood firm bought the UFC last year, a few months after the Frieze deal was announced. An art fair doesn’t have the same business relationship with artists that fighters do with the UFC but it is interesting that WME/IMG has hit the ground running with the Mixed Martial Artists but done little that is visible with the art fair:
“What we bring to the mix for these athletes is a global network of talent, events, brand and media partners across sports, entertainment and fashion to help enhance their profiles,” said Mark Shapiro, a co-president of WME/IMG.
In May, the agency sponsored a two-day retreat at the U.F.C. corporate campus in Las Vegas to school the fighters in personal brand building, social media and financial management. Among the speakers were the television host and former football great Michael Strahan and the YouTube star Jesse Wellens. Both are WME/IMG clients.
Hollywood Image-Makers Work Their Magic on U.F.C. Brawlers (The New York Times)