In the world of sports, everybody likes a winner. Wearing the jersey of a popular Ohio State football player or a shirt with the number of a favorite NASCAR driver is akin to wearing your heart on your sleeve. As long as there are teams and superstar athletes there will always be a market for supporting them. To Michael DiSabato, an 11-year-veteran of the sports licensing world, it’s no secret.
“Licensing was a perfect fit for me because I loved athletics and wanted to be in the business world,” says DiSabato. A graduate of Ohio State and an accomplished amateur wrestler, Disabato broke into the world of sports retail successfully with licensing agreements a number of universities though his company Silver Knight. He has since expanded his sights into other ventures, most notably, mixed martial arts. “I was sitting at the UFC fight with a friend of mine and he told me to forget about OSU and that I should be all over UFC,” says DiSabato. “I thought about it and realized he was totally right.”
DiSabato used his wresting ties and credibility to land UFC superstar Chuck Liddell and five other fighters to his stable. DiSabato says his company will be focused on selling the image of these fighters in an effort to grow the sport in a similar vein to what NASCAR has done. “Right now we think our company is where NASCAR was 15 years ago,” he says. “Retailers like our idea because, unlike college sports, you can sell merchandise across the U.S. and pull in the same numbers everywhere.”
Disabato points out the UFC’s numbers are higher than those for professional wrestling, which can’t keep it’s merchandise on the shelves. His brands, Cage Fighter and MMA authentics, shouldn’t stay on the shelves any longer. For more information go to: http://www.mmaauthentics.com or http://www.silverknightltd.com.