After the death of Lewis the company was acquired by The Authentic Brands Group (ABG) but the terms of the deal were not disclosed except that Caldwell and Katz remained involved.
So who are The Authentic Brands Group? Well they’re basically a brand development and licensing company. They have global brand building experience in apparel, action sports, consumer electronics, home and celebrity brands. The company’s innovative marketing strategies include traditional and social media, and securing partnerships with high profile athletes and celebrities. Their brand portfolio for actions sports now includes, SilverStar, Sinister, Iron Star as well as Hitman and TapouT.
Dan Caldwell “Punkass” said Authentic Brands Group mission was in sync with the original Tapout mission, “Tapout is more than a company or a brand to me – it is a way of life. With the passing of my best friend and co-founder Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis, we’ve been through a lot. Now we are focused on continuing to set the standard as the industry leader, bringing to life Mask’s dream of building a billion-dollar empire. Authentic Brands Group understands what Tapout is about and they share our vision. Mask always said to simply ‘believe’ and that one word became our formula for success. We believe in Authentic Brands Group and they believe in us.”
In February 2011, TapouT announced it was branching out from its core audience with a multi-year partnership with racing team Kevin Harvick Inc. Tim “Skyskrape” Katz announced, “I expect NASCAR and MMA fans to be in a bit of shock – in a good way. TapouT has never ventured outside of MMA like this, but seeing how the fans love both sports, I think they will be the real winners here. TapouT loves doing things out of the ordinary and we think this is going to be a great partnership.” This marketing strategy marks an unprecedented expansion for the TapouT brand. No doubt that The Authentic Brands Group is behind this NASCAR extension and it’s just the beginning of TapouT branching out into new markets, reaching new fans in other sports.
Today TapouT now represents the biggest MMA superstars including Rashad Evans, Rich Franklin, Dan Hardy, Thiago Alves, Chael Sonnen and Roy Nelson. They boast a sought-after clothing line, a TV reality show, TapouT Radio and is the official apparel brand for Spike TV’s hit reality show “The Ultimate Fighter.” The Authentic Brands Group strategies seem to be paying off because The TapouT Brand can now be purchased in more than 20,000 retail stores worldwide!
The story of TapouT is one of success so far. In my opinion TapouT are yet to find their identity like other MMA brands such as Affliction and Bad Boy. They are losing their core audience by venturing into other sports that have nothing to do with MMA. That’s fine for companies such as Nike because they’re a sports brand not linked with one sport. TapouT became a success story because of the UFC and MMA. The brand name itself lends itself to MMA and not other sports! I hope The Authentic Brands Group doesn’t over extend the brand because in the long run it with lead to the demise of TapouT. I’m keeping a close eye on TapouT so I’m sure there will be a Part Three to this blog soon.