Endeavor purchased UFC in 2018, a year before inking deals with ESPN that resulted in triple the rights fees for the MMA league’s prior agreement with Fox.
On Monday, Endeavor announced that it had made an agreement to merge WWE with UFC to create a publicly traded company — one that, after all the necessary approvals, will be seeking to leverage new media deals for both entities.
“Together, we will be a $21 billion-plus live sports and entertainment powerhouse with a collective fanbase of more than a billion people and an exciting growth opportunity,” said WWE Executive Chairman Vince McMahon in a statement. “The new company will be well positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights.”
Endeavor stated it “expects significant growth across revenue areas including domestic and international media rights.”
WWE’s deals with NBC Universal and Fox — worth nearly $500 million combined annually — expire next year. UFC’s exclusive broadcast and streaming deals with ESPN are worth around $300 million per year and expire in 2026.
Given WWE’s deals expiring in fall 2024, it’s unlikely a massive joint deal is on the cards. WWE President Nick Khan, who will hold the same title with the combined company, said negotiations are just starting with Fox and NBC Universal, who have the right of first refusal at this point.
Endeavor will have a 51% controlling interest in the new company, with the remainder being held by existing WWE shareholders. The deal values UFC at $12.1 billion and WWE at $9.3 billion.