After months of talks and preparations, it’s official: WWE and UFC have merged into a new company called TKO Group.
As of Tuesday, the TKO Group is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is being described as “a new premium sports and entertainment company serving more than one billion young and diverse fans, reaching viewers in 180 countries, and producing more than 350 annual live events” by parent company, Endeavor.
Endeavor will own 51% of TKO Group, seeing Jim McMahon no longer in control of the WWE, and WWE shareholders will hold the remaining 49%. Endeavour CEO Ari Emanuel will serve as TKO’s chief executive, and McMahaon will serve as the executive chairman.
Dana White will remain as the CEO of UFC, along with Lawrence Epstein as COO.
Over at WWE, Nich Khan will serve as the president.
The company is currently valued at $21B with annual revenues of around $2.5B.
Endeavor has shared that there is less overlap between the two brands than you may think with WWE focusing more on ‘family centric’ material, and MMA serving more college-aged fans.
All current TV deals will remain in place, but the new company is currently negotiating for future deals. UFC’s deal with ESPN is good through 2025, while WWE’s deals with Fox and Comcast/NBCU will expire in Oct. 2024. “We’re in conversations now with multiple players on either renewing with incumbents or moving to another partner,” the company said.
For now the brands will remain independent of one another in the U.S., but we may see them combine in other countries.
This deal has been discussed for what feels like years now, and it has finally come together. How fans react to it remains to be seen.