WWE: Royal Rumble 2024 Date Announced, Nick Khan on Potential CM Punk Return, Endeavor on Media Rights Deals

WWE Announces Dates & Location for Royal Rumble 2024

WWE announced that next year’s Royal Rumble event will be taking place on Saturday, January 27th at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Official press release:


Royal Rumble Heads to St. Petersburg-Clearwater on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Tropicana Field

Monday Night Raw to Take Place in Tampa on Jan. 29 at Amalie Arena

STAMFORD, Conn., September 13, 2023 – WWE®, part of TKO Group Holdings (NYSE: TKO), in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Rays, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, today announced that Tampa Bay will host the 37th Royal Rumble in 2024.

WWE will head to town for an entire weekend of events across St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa, Fla., highlighted by the Royal Rumble on Saturday, January 27 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Two days later, Monday Night Raw will emanate from Amalie Arena in Tampa on January 29. This marks the first time that Royal Rumble will be held in Tampa Bay in front of fans since 1995.

“Tampa Bay has long been a terrific market for WWE,” said WWE Executive Vice President of Live Events John Porco. “Thanks to our partners at the Tampa Bay Rays, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, we look forward to a fantastic schedule of events in January.”

“We are excited to welcome WWE back to Tropicana Field for the 2024 Royal Rumble,” said Tampa Bay Rays President Matt Silverman. “The Royal Rumble will provide first-class sports entertainment to both those seeing the action in person and watching as part of a worldwide television audience. This event will bring visitors from around the globe to experience the beauty of our area and all it has to offer.”

“As a leader in event production and promotion, we are thrilled to collaborate with WWE to bring Royal Rumble to our destination,” Caleb Peterson, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Senior Business Development Manager. “We look forward to welcoming all of the WWE fans to our community, a community that will certainly match their energy and enthusiasm for sports entertainment. A special thank you to our community partners – the Tampa Bay Rays, City of St. Petersburg, and Tampa Bay Sports Commission – for their role in creating this unique opportunity for our destination.”

“Team Tampa Bay loved hosting WrestleMania 37 two years ago and we’re now beyond excited to have the opportunity to collaborate again with our longtime friends at WWE,” said Rob Higgins, Tampa Bay Sports Commission Executive Director. “Royal Rumble Weekend in January of 2024 will be a phenomenal regional effort that spans Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties including both Tropicana Field and Amalie Arena. Together, we’re focused on making sure that WWE Universe is treated to a weekend that’s filled with memories that last a lifetime.”

Royal Rumble will be headlined by the 30-man and 30-woman Royal Rumble matches, with the winners of both receiving a Championship match opportunity at WrestleMania 40.

The announcement comes on the heels of this year’s record-setting Royal Rumble which took place in San Antonio, Texas. The event became WWE’s highest-grossing and most-viewed Royal Rumble in company history and set an all-time gate record at more than $7.7 million, far surpassing the previous Royal Rumble high in 2017 by more than 50 percent.

More information on the ticket on-sale will be announced in the coming weeks. To learn more about registering for pre-sale opportunities, please visit: https://www.wwe.com/royalrumble-2024-presale.

In addition, official Royal Rumble Priority Passes will soon be available through exclusive partner On Location, giving fans the opportunity to purchase ticket packages before they go on sale to the general public. Royal Rumble Priority Passes will offer fans the chance to be ringside for every exhilarating moment, including premium seating, all-inclusive pre-show hospitality with WWE Superstar appearances, ringside photo opportunities, exclusive merchandise, deluxe accommodations, and much more. To receive exclusive pre-sale access before Royal Rumble Priority Passes go on sale, please visit https://onlocationexp.com/royalrumble. For more information, please call 855-346-7388.

Nick Khan on Potential CM Punk Return to WWE in the Future

ESPN’s Marc Raimondi held a recent interview with WWE CEO Nick Khan. One of the topics discussed included Khan’s thoughts about the potential of CM Punk returning to WWE in the future.

“Listen, we only have respect for Phil. We appreciate his run here. We appreciate what he did and tried to do with the UFC. Not many people can actually get in there and do what he did. So, when we have respect for Phil, we wish him nothing but the best.”

Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel & Marc Shapiro Comments on WWE-UFC Merger & WWE Upcoming New Media Rights Deals

A recent episode of CNBC’s Squawk on the Street show featured Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel and COO Marc Shapiro as the guests. One of the topics discussed included Emanuel’s thoughts about the recent merger of WWE and UFC into a new company called TKO Group.

“We had a range of 50 to 100 with regard to back office and costs. We’re on our way to kind of doing that. We did that with the UFC. We’re on our way here. There’s also savings as it relates to on the production side because of their production facility, our production facility at the UFC. This is a pure sports play. There’s nothing more important than sports content and live events. We do 350 live events with production. We have a billion in fanbase. The global reach of both is incredible, and you can’t underestimate the value of TV rights domestically and internationally, and also the sponsorship. I think the other thing that this does, in addition to just cost-saving, it enables us to kind of have a pure play and people look at EDR properly, where we have some datapoints last week, investing in CAA at 13,15 times. Formula1 buying Quint for 15 times, which is an experiential company. Without UFC inside EDR, everything’s valued at a little less. I think it’ll give everybody a pure play there also. Both companies have about less than three times leverage.”

On the topic of Endeavor’s cash-flow status for TKO Group, Shapiro stated:

“Both companies will be a juggernaut in that respect. Free cash flow conversion to TKO will be about 61%, and of course Endeavor will be strong. Remember, when this thing started, we were just about eight times levered. Now we’re below a three, so healthy balance sheet, scale, growth, profitability.”

On the topic of WWE’s upcoming new media rights deals, Emanuel and Shapiro stated:

Emanuel – “We feel very good about where we’re at with the WWE now as principals in that negotiation and I think we’ll be in line with what the market thinks will happen with those rights… I’m not telling you (what that means). No. At some point, I’ll call you and bug you. I promise.”

Shapiro – “But keep in mind, we’re in conversations right now with WWE because those deals are up in October of next year. Both deals, SmackDown and Raw. We’re cautiously optimistic and we’re having conversations with all the platforms right now, linear and digital. As Ari mentioned, we have a lot of product and it’s a year-around product… WWE and UFC are a full calendar year…”

Transcript h/t: Fightful.com, PostWrestling.com