For the first time since the merger of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE,) detailed information regarding finances have been revealed.
TKO Group Holdings, the publicly traded company Endeavor formed to house the two brands after acquiring a 51% stake in the WWE in April, has disclosed revenue figures to the Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of an investor call scheduled for Nov. 7.
During the first half of 2023, the UFC generated $611.9 million in revenue. This was from the combination of $435.8 million in media and content rights (which includes the broadcast deal with ESPN,) $84.2 million in sponsorships, $63.8 million from live events, and $28.1 million from product licensing.
These figures represent a 16 percent increase from the first half of 2022 according to the SEC submission.
In 2022, the promotion raked in approximately $1.14 billion in revenue which is 20 percent increase from Endeavor’s 2021 filing.
As impressive as those numbers are, the reported revenue from the WWE overshadows that of its MMA counterpart. In 2022, it was responsible for bringing in around $1.292 billion. The first two quarters saw a combined $707.9 million in revenue.
What Lies Ahead?
The UFC is expected to exceed 2022s number partly due to the six year $100 million deal that was announced last week with Anheuser Busch, reinstalling Bud Light as the official beer of the Octagon. Sources told ESPN that the reunion with Bud Light is the biggest sponsorship deal in UFC history.
Also, with the current agreement with ESPN set to end at the start of 2025, the promotion will begin negotiations for broadcast rights next year. The current agreement is worth an annual $300 million and, including a two-year extension signed just months after the original agreement was in effect, spans a seven-year period.
In March, Endeavor CEO Ari Emmanuel said he anticipated “a lot of buyers out there” when the rights to broadcast UFC content go up for grabs.
In September, Endeavor combined the biggest brand names in pro-wrestling and MMA to form TKO. With the valuations of the UFC and WWE being $12.1 billion and $9.3 billion respectively, the new company was estimated to be worth $21.4 billion. Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon was appointed TKO executive chairman while former UFC president Dana White was given the title of UFC CEO.