Thursday December 7, 2023

Sports A Bright Spot For Endeavor Amid Ongoing Turbulence

  • Majority interest in TKO, PBR fuel notable gains for company
  • TV dealmaking continues with CW pact for WWE NXT
Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports
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Endeavor has no shortage of pressing issues, including a stock that is still down nearly 11% since its 2021 initial public offering, an actors’ strike cutting heavily into its Hollywood business, and new consideration of going private. 

But the company’s sports properties continue to be standouts on its balance sheet. 

In third-quarter earnings released Wednesday, Endeavor said its owned sports properties segment — which includes its majority interest in WWE and UFC parent entity TKO Group Holdings, as well Professional Bull Riders — posted a 19.3% increase in revenue to $479.7 million. Endeavor’s sports data and technology segment, led by IMG Arena and OpenBet, grew 167.2% in revenue to $124.8 million.

Those numbers exceeded Endeavor’s overall 10% revenue rise to $1.34 billion and a net loss that deepened from $12.5 million to $116 million.

Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel declined to offer any additional details on the potential privatization, which last month sent Endeavor shares upward in expectation of a deal. But he cheered TKO’s progress as its own company, as it reported a 32% increase in quarterly revenue to $449.1 million but saw net income fall to $22 million from a comparable $129.7 million a year ago.

“Over just the first frame of our integration efforts, WWE and UFC have set live-event records, announced international expansion plans, increased media rights fees, and confirmed a significant new global partnership,” Emanuel said.

More TV Dealmaking

Less than two months after WWE completed a five-year, $1.4 billion rights agreement with NBC for the U.S. rights to SmackDown, the pro wrestling property made another big TV deal.

The latest move was a five-year pact with the CW Network to show developmental circuit WWE NXT. The latest deal represented a 70% jump in rights fees compared to the prior deal with USA Network, reportedly now worth in the neighborhood of $25 million annually.

For the CW, the deal adds to prior rights pacts with the Atlantic Coast Conference, NASCAR, LIV Golf, and “Inside The NFL.”

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