Late last year Authentic Brands Group, LLC (ABG) acquired Muhammad Ali Enterprises from CORE Media Group. Under the deal, ABG will own and manage, in partnership with the Ali family and Joel Weinshanker, chairman and founder of National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA), all of the intellectual property associated with boxing great Muhammad Ali.
“Muhammad Ali is The Greatest of All Time. With the current ABG roster of brands, Muhammad was a great fit, being able to align with both the ABG Sports and Celebrity division,” explains ABG’s President and Chief Marketing Officer Nick Woodhouse.
ABG will also assume global rights to Ali’s intellectual property, including the world’s largest library of photographic images of Muhammad Ali; a moving image and video collection; Ali’s name and likeness; and trademark phrases, such as “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” and “The Greatest of All Time.”
“Authentic Brands Group will handle all day-to-day operations on the brand including brand & marketing strategy, procurement of new licensees & brand partnerships, social media, etc.,” says Woodhouse. “The Ali family, specifically Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s wife, will be helpful in making certain that ABG stays on brand in aligning with Muhammad’s Six Core Values: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect and Spirituality, which are personified by the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY.”
According to Woodhouse, branding decisions will be a collaborative effort. The family will have a say in direction, but the execution and activation will be handled by ABG.
Muhammad Ali is one of the most recognizable men in the world. A gold medalist at the 1960 Rome Olympics, his boxing career is full of championships. He is still the only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion. Ali is also known for his humanitarian work and is a United Nations Messenger of Peace, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Amnesty International Lifetime Achievement Award. In fact, according to Woodhouse ABG wants to play up Ali’s humanitarian efforts as well. “Brand goals include commercially showcasing Muhammad’s dual persona as both an athlete and a humanitarian,” he notes. “In addition, by aligning with his 6 Core Values, we will look to partner with Blue Chip companies that tie in directly to those values.”
ABG brands include Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Juicy Couture, Hickey Freeman, and Prince, among others.