Why should brands consider partnering with KSI ahead of his next fight?

Guest post: Dan French is co-founder of sports and entertainment agency Clifford French.

Following weeks of social media speculation about who KSI would fight next, the current YBC boxing champion announced on YouTube yesterday that he will fight Logan Paul on the 25th August in Manchester. The event is set to once again break more amateur boxing and YouTube records.

For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, back in January, OP Talent staged a white-collar boxing event between KSI and Joe Weller, the main event was supported with an under-card which saw four other YouTube bouts at an 8,000 sell-out Copper Box.

We worked with OP Talent to identify fight partners. JD Sports should be applauded for their courage and understanding of their target audience as the numbers certainly vindicated their commercial backing:

Let’s look at the numbers that made the fight the world’s biggest white-collar boxing event:

  • 1.8 million concurrent live viewers of the event
  • More UK viewers watched this fight on YouTube than the Red Bull Stratos Jump
  • 21 million VOD views across two YouTube channels (KSI & Joe Weller)
  • According to Business Insider, Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor had 6.7 million PPV’s
  • 2.9 million engagements across the official livestream/VOD
  • The weigh-in alone achieved 5.5 million VOD views
  • Over 35 million views of additional pre and post-fight content by KSI and Joe Weller
  • Searching KSI v Joe Weller on YouTube delivers 209,000 YouTube video upload results!
  • Over 4 million Google searches of KSI v Joe Weller

The numbers once again prove the value of influencer marketing but brands need to be aware of the history that comes with both influencers as engagement isn’t the only consideration. Many of you will know the name Logan Paul and some of you may remember historical sexist comments made by KSI aged 18 in 2012.

Logan (aged 22) achieved traditional media notoriety back in December 2017 when he  posted a video from Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, a place where people come from around the country to commit suicide, as part of his diary documenting his experiences in Japan, he uploaded a video that featured a corpse hanging from a tree.

No one condones this behaviour but for brands wanting to build advocacy with millennials, here’s why I think we should have a conversation:

  1. YouTube is the video format of choice for millennials with by 93% watching every month
  2. As ad-blocking continues to grow in popularity, it’s more important than ever for brands to engage consumers via entertaining content and native advertising (Nielsen)
  3. 44% of Gen Z and 51% of millennials use ad blockers (GWI)
  4. Whether you’re a YouTube content creator or a Premier League footballer, young (and old) adults make mistakes, it’s how they respond to them that matters. The FA gave Phil Neville a second chance after his own sexist tweets were discovered, why aren’t influencers offered the same courtesy?
  5. Brands that engage millennials need to understand that making mistakes is part of growing up, prove you understand Gen Z and Y by not going with the status quo
  6. The daily vlogging and social series leading up to the event provides an authentic opportunity for the right brand to play a key role in the event narrative – sports apparel, nutrition, wearable tech, sports drinks etc
  7.  KSI will be 25 years old when he enters the ring and showed great discipline and maturity to prepare for the first fight, he’s not an 18 year-old anymore
  8. If you think you’ll struggle to ‘sell’ this opportunity to senior management, the first fight delivered traditional media pick-up on newspaper websites (including the Telegraph and Guardian), major broadcasters and  lifestyle sites such as Esquire
  9. The decision to face a US YouTuber will drive US earned media and wider influencer content creation driving US eyeballs for a brand with interests across the pond
  10. The Manchester Arena has a capacity of 21,000 providing an experiential opportunity with increased dwell time for brands

Having attended the first fight, the audience varied from 18 to late 30’s, male and female, it was unlike any boxing event I’d ever attended and genuinely showed the influence of these guys to influence consumer behaviour.

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