WWE and UFC To Form New Company in a Massive Deal
Two of the biggest sports and entertainment brands are forming a new tag team. Endeavor has reached a $21 billion agreement to form a joint, publicly traded company with WWE and UFC it announced on Monday. Endeavor will maintain a 51 percent controlling interest in the new company.
UFC was sold to Endeavor for $4 billion in 2016 and now has expanded its combat sports empire. Endeavor’s CEO Ari Emanuel will be the CEO of this new venture while Vince McMahon will be the Executive Chairman. Nick Khan will remain President of WWE and Dana White will continue on in his role as President of UFC.
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” Emanuel said. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”
WWE Future Now Clear After McMahon Controversy
The deal ends nearly a year of speculation as to the future of WWE amidst a scandal involving McMahon. McMahon stepped down as chairman of WWE last June after reports emerged that he paid $12 million to secure non disclosure agreements from women who accused him and another executive of sexual misconduct.
His retirement didn’t last long as he reinstated himself as WWE Executive Chairman in early January. The power play led to speculation that a deal was imminent. There were rumors that WWE would be sold to the Saudi Public Investment fund. WWE has done multiple shows in Saudi Arabia, but those rumors were just that, rumors.
What this means for the future of UFC and WWE as broadcast entities is unclear. UFC signed a two-year extension with ESPN for its broadcast rights that runs through 2025. WWE’s current broadcast deals with NBC Universal and FOX run through 2024. WWE Premium Live Events, like Wrestlemania which was probably all over your timeline this weekend, air on Peacock and don’t cost more than a subscription to that service. It’s hard to imagine that would continue with the company that owns UFC in charge.