On Wedneday, Parimatch announced that it had signed a two-year personal endorsement deal with McGregor that will see the controversial fighter serve as “the face of a new look Parimatch.” The company is embarking on a brand refresh in tandem with creative partners Digital Choo and BANDA to coincide with the site’s migration to a new betting platform.
Parimatch and McGregor will collaborate on promotional content and consumer activations, focusing on the Commonwealth of Independent States region – Russia and eight former Soviet Union republics – and Cyprus.
Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov hailed McGregor as “a bold global icon that transcends sport” and thus “the ultimate ambassador for Parimatch.” McGregor dutifully logrolled back, saying Parimatch “has a fighter’s spirit built into its culture.”
The McGregor deal follows Parimatch signing a deal last summer to become the official betting partner of the UFC mixed martial arts league for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (except the UK and Ireland). Parimatch served as ‘introducing partner’ for the UFC’s first Russian event at Moscow’s Olympic Stadium in September 2018, which attracted over 22k fans, making it the fifth-largest event in UFC history.
Last December, Portnov told Betting Business Russia that the four-year UFC deal was his “personal initiative” due to his love of mixed martial arts. When the opportunity arose to pursue a UFC partnership, Portnov said Parimatch “immediately rushed into battle and did not give any competitor a chance to even start negotiations.’
Portnov claimed the average UFC bettor placed larger wagers than other sports’ bettors, making for significant turnover on UFC events. However, Portnov said the infrequency of UFC events meant that Parimatch’s deal with the organization was primarily “a hype tool, a marketing tool.”
Parimatch holds one of the 16 online sports betting licenses that Russia has issued to date and ranked sixth on the 2018 chart of bookmaker website traffic. The company is also massively popular in the Ukraine.
In December, Parimatch announced a brand ambassador deal with Russian rapper Basta, who ironically was declared persona non grata in Ukraine in 2017 after making repeated visits to the Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.