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Leveraging marketing strategies: Spotlight on SPRIBE’s Aviator and UFC

| By iGB Editorial Team | Reading Time: 5 minutes
Leading game studio SPRIBE has hit new heights with its popular Aviator game. Taking the crash game genre into the stratosphere, Aviator is thrilling players across the globe with innovative gameplay and a high-profile marketing campaign in association with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Giorgi Tsutskiridze, chief commercial officer, believes that this strategic alignment of two powerhouses enhances Aviator’s vast appeal.

Since its launch, Aviator has achieved great success, earning the title of most-played crash game in the world with an impressive 10 million players playing every month. With features such as in-game chat, sharing options and prize pots, the game has appealed to a wide demographic, with especially high engagement from younger players.

Getting the strategy right: Why Aviator teamed up with UFC

With any game comes the need for a strong marketing campaign. For Tsutskiridze, partnering with one of the world’s leading sports brands was a genius move in keeping Aviator in front of players.

“The launch of Aviator with UFC has been a game-changer, bringing in a fresh wave of fans,” Tsutskiridze says. “The success of this collaboration lies in the shared ethos of both brands.”

The world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) competition is one of the most recognisable global sports brands, with more than 300 million fans. UFC is particularly attractive for partners and advertisers because of its supporter demographics. It has the youngest fanbase in sport – the mean age is just 40.1 years old – and the highest concentration of millennial fans. Data even shows that some 43% of fans come from the highly sought-after 18-34-year-old bracket which is perfect for a crash-game like Aviator.

Announcing the partnership: UFC and SPRIBE align

Announced in October 2023, the deal between SPRIBE and UFC gives the games developer branding opportunities during UFC pay-per-views and Fight Nights. This includes placements inside the Octagon and within live broadcasts and an annual Brand Ambassador fund in the agreement which will involve UFC athletes in various campaigns.

When announcing the partnership in October, UFC explained the appeal of SPRIBE and its content.

“We’re thrilled to welcome SPRIBE as an official UFC partner,” said Grant Norris-Jones, UFC senior vice president, global partnerships. “SPRIBE creates the kind of next-gen games that have strong appeal for UFC fans because they offer a unique experience, with exciting features, stunning graphics, and engaging gameplay. We’re excited to help them achieve a broader reach for their brand and their games.”

The partnership saw lift-off during the UFC 294 event in Abu Dhabi on 21 October 2023, packing a punch to rival that night’s match-up between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski.

It was clearly an ambitious move for a gaming content studio to buddy up with one of the world’s biggest brands.

“The partnership is not just a collaboration; it’s a strategic alignment of two industry leaders. Aviator and UFC, both at the forefront of their fields, bring credibility and authority to the table, enhancing the appeal to existing players while introducing Aviator to a broader audience through UFC’s extensive reach,” explained Norris-Jones.

“This collaboration is a gateway to myriad opportunities for both parties. By associating with UFC, Aviator gains access to a passionate and diverse fanbase, expanding its reach and solidifying its position as a premier gaming experience.

“Simultaneously, UFC benefits from aligning with a cutting-edge gaming platform, introducing their audience to an exciting and innovative form of entertainment.”

Aviator and UFC: Mutual benefits

Since 2015, crash games have seen a slow but steady rise in popularity, especially among the Gen Z and millennial demographic. A 2022 UK Gambling Commission report found that 32.6% of 18-24-year-olds had gambled online during a surveyed four-week period, demonstrating that younger audiences are now actively engaging with online games. The youth demographic is a notoriously hard audience to attract. However, it seems that game developers and operators have finally found the elusive X-factor that not only appeals to these players of the future but will keep them playing.

For Tsutskiridze, reaching this demographic is paramount to the continuous success of Aviator, considering it’s not a new game release. But it’s not just SPRIBE that gets to benefit; instead, she believes that the partnership strategically leverages each other’s strengths for mutual benefit.

“As leaders in our respective fields, this collaboration with UFC is not merely a promotional tactic; it’s a strategic move to authentically connect with a global community through the powerful and dynamic world of UFC,” says Tsutskiridze.

“We ensure that the essence of Aviator’s brand is seamlessly integrated with the UFC’s image, creating a synergy that resonates with both gaming enthusiasts and UFC fans. Consistency in messaging and design ensures that the branding remains strong and recognisable.”

“The Aviator and UFC partnership has successfully brought in a new fanbase, reinforcing our positions as industry leaders and creating a synergistic platform for innovation and shared experiences.”

In just a couple of months since UFC 294, SPRIBE has seen soaring interest in Aviator around the world. Just as UFC attracts a young audience, SPRIBE’s games, which are now featured across 2,000+ operators, are particularly popular among Gen Y and Gen Z.

SPRIBE’s history of strong partnerships and campaigns

This isn’t the first time that SPRIBE has put marketing front and centre. Its marketing strategies have been an integral part of the business’ wider plans since the company was founded in 2018. It partnered early on with Flutter Entertainment-owned Adjarabet, the biggest Georgian online casino, and began releasing its flagship titles such as the popular Turbo Games.

In the years since it has built its reputation as an industry leader, obtaining certification in the UK, Malta, Gibraltar, Sweden and 14 more regulatory jurisdictions. Italy, Colombia and the Canadian province of Ontario are among the other regions where it is certified to supply games to operators.

“Marketing plays a pivotal role in the success of innovative games in the igaming industry,” Tsutskiridze says. “Marketing a super game like Aviator also comes with its share of challenges and intense competition.

“To overcome these challenges, we prioritised targeted advertising, strategic partnerships, and effective communication of the game’s unique selling points. By concentrating our resources on key aspects, we maximised the impact of our marketing efforts.

“For SPRIBE, having strong marketing partnerships is crucial, especially when launching groundbreaking titles like Aviator. These partnerships amplify our reach and provide a platform to showcase the unique features of our games. The goal is not only to attract new players but also to establish SPRIBE as a leading innovator in the igaming space.”

The key factors emphasised in the Aviator marketing campaign include the game’s user-friendly interface, fairness and the excitement level it brings to players. This is compounded by the fact that the game can handle up to 10,000 bets simultaneously, with over 165,000 bets being placed around the globe every minute.

“In the vast landscape of the igaming market, our Aviator crash game distinguishes itself through a blend of innovation and player-centric design,” Tsutskiridze continues.

“What sets us apart is not just the adrenaline-pumping excitement of the game but the seamless integration of cutting-edge technology, engaging gameplay and a commitment to fair play. Aviator provides an unparalleled user experience, ensuring that every player feels the thrill of the game while enjoying a sense of transparency and trust.”

How the marketing campaign has boosted SPRIBE’s portfolio

This combination of game attributes and strong marketing mean Aviator is performing as well as ever, years after its initial release. The game has benefited from some tweaks during that time, such as a 2.0 version that offered new chat capabilities, but the strength of the initial concept and clever promotional activities continue to drive its success.

For SPRIBE, the success of a marketing strategy is measured through a comprehensive analysis of key metrics. For Aviator, it has monitored player acquisition and retention rates, engagement levels and revenue generated. Alongside this, SPRIBE closely tracks the impact of its marketing efforts on brand visibility and perception. This data-driven approach allows the game developer to assess the effectiveness of its strategy and make informed decisions for continuous improvement.

“Since the partnership with the UFC, Aviator has experienced a surge in popularity, capitalising on the wide span of high-visibility events hosted by the UFC,” concludes Tsutskiridze. “The game’s performance has been remarkable and the partnership has not only elevated Aviator but also positively impacted the engagement levels of our other games.”

Giorgi Tsutskiridze is the chief commercial officer of SPRIBE, the powerhouse studio behind the world’s number one crash game, Aviator. Giorgi is one of the industry’s brightest minds and commercial talents and has an impressive track record before he joined SPRIBE in June 2023. As a graduate of the Harvard Business School, he has strong skills in management and entrepreneurship – skills that he has been able to lean on throughout his igaming career and when establishing and running his international businesses. This business pedigree has invited Giorgi as a lecturer at local Georgian and international universities.

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