In a monumental shift within the world of sports entertainment, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) have officially come under the umbrella of TKO Group following a significant takeover by Endeavor.
Newly appointed WWE President, Nick Khan, offered a glimpse into the future of these two iconic brands during an interview on the Bill Simmons podcast. Khan proposed an intriguing concept called "all-star TKO weekends," aimed at achieving substantial cost reductions and driving revenue growth.
Khan stated, "The initial discussions are underway, with meticulous attention given to securing the necessary regulatory approvals, including those from the Department of Justice, SEC, and various international bodies, which have all been successfully obtained." He elaborated on the idea of these "all-star TKO weekends," envisioning a scenario where SmackDown, WWE's flagship program, airs on Friday, UFC holds its high-profile pay-per-view event on Saturday, and WWE caps off the weekend with a premium live event on Sunday, all within the same host city.
Khan highlighted that this arrangement could lead to significant cost efficiencies in production while unlocking substantial revenue potential.
Crucially, Khan emphasized that the athletes, whether from the UFC or WWE, would maintain separate identities.
However, he did not rule out the possibility of rare crossovers, citing figures like Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar as examples, albeit occurring infrequently. Furthermore, Khan discussed the potential for collaboration between WWE and UFC, proposing that both brands could be made available to the highest bidder.
He elaborated, saying, "Ideally, with WWE's expanding international presence and UFC's established global reach, we could envision a scenario where events are scheduled strategically. For instance, WWE might hold an international event at 3 pm Eastern, followed by UFC's domestic event at 8 pm Eastern, or vice versa." This approach could maximize gate revenues, merchandise sales, and, notably, government subsidies.
Khan pointed to the recent example of the Welsh Government's investment of nearly $3 million to bring WWE to Cardiff for Clash at the Castle in September 2022. An economic impact survey revealed that this investment had generated tenfold economic benefits for the city, showcasing the potential of government support for such events.
This groundbreaking development signals a new era for sports entertainment, with TKO Group poised to leverage the strengths of WWE and UFC to revolutionize the industry while maximizing revenue opportunities. Stay tuned for further updates on this exciting transformation in the coming months.