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TKO Merging WWE and UFC Live Event Groups Into One Division

May 23, 2024 | Posted by Joseph Lee
TKO Group Holdings Logo, Endeavor Image Credit: TKO Group Holdings

TKO has announced that it has merged the live event groups for both WWE and UFC into one division called the TKO Live Events Strategy Team.

TKO Merges UFC® and WWE® Live Events Groups

Combined Unit Produces Hundreds of Live Events Year-Round, Featuring Two of the World’s Most Iconic Sports and Entertainment Properties

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO), a premium sports and entertainment company, today announced that it has integrated the UFC and WWE Live Events teams into one unit, creating one of the strongest live events portfolios in all of sports and entertainment.

The integrated unit, the TKO Live Events Strategy Team, will drive revenue growth strategies across key areas, including live event development and scheduling, tourism incentive programs, ticketing, and fan experiences. This new structure aligns with TKO’s efforts to leverage the power and expertise of both UFC and WWE to maximize event revenue potential and pursue growth opportunities and cost synergies.

Peter Dropick, who has played an important role in driving UFC’s industry leading live event success for nearly two decades, and who is a pivotal member of the senior executive team that has led UFC to five consecutive years of record revenue, has been elevated to lead the integrated unit as Executive Vice President, Event Development and Operations for TKO.

Dropick will work closely with UFC, WWE, and TKO leadership, including UFC President and CEO Dana White, WWE Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein, WWE President Nick Khan, and TKO CFO Andrew Schleimer, to leverage the massive global popularity of UFC and WWE and continue to grow the TKO live events business domestically and internationally.

“Demand for live sports and entertainment has never been stronger, and we believe our portfolio of events will continue to drive the growth of our business,” said Andrew Schleimer, Chief Financial Officer, TKO. “The newly integrated TKO Live Events Strategy Team will focus on creating operational efficiencies and developing strategies to leverage the broader economic benefits we bring to host cities, including partnering with local governments and maximizing revenue opportunities from site fees.”

In Q1 2024, UFC and WWE each set numerous live event attendance and revenue records, helping to fuel TKO’s strong start for the year. UFC sold out all five events with live audiences, including UFC 297 in Toronto, UFC’s highest-grossing arena event in Canada; UFC 298 in Anaheim, the highest grossing MMA event ever in California; and UFC 299 in Miami, setting the arena record and ranking among the highest-grossing UFC events of all time. WWE’s Premium Live Events in the quarter – Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber – delivered record gross gate revenue. Royal Rumble broke the all-time attendance record for Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Elimination Chamber in Perth brought out more than 52,000 fans to mark WWE’s first Australia event since 2018 as part of an agreement with Tourism Western Australia. In total, WWE events in Q1 set 54 individual market records for both gross and paid tickets across all event types, including 17 consecutive sell-outs for televised events.

Following the quarter’s close, the momentum continued in April, as WrestleMania 40 drew its largest-ever viewership and set a WWE gate record with 145,000 fans over two days at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. The next weekend, UFC 300 became one of the highest-grossing events in UFC history, recording a gate of $16.5 million and setting a UFC attendance record at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with 20,067 fans.

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TKO, Joseph Lee