WWE: TKO Merges WWE & UFC Live Events Divisions, Natalya Contract Update, King & Queen of the Ring Winners to Get Title Shots at SummerSlam 2024

TKO Announces Merger of WWE & UFC Live Events Divisions

TKO Group announced that they have recently merged WWE and UFC’s Live Events departments into a single unified department going forward for both companies.

Official press release:

TKO Merges UFC® and WWE® Live Events Groups

Combined Unit Produces Hundreds of Live Events Year-Round, Featuring Two of the World’s Most Iconic Sports and Entertainment Properties

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO), a premium sports and entertainment company, today announced that it has integrated the UFC and WWE Live Events teams into one unit, creating one of the strongest live events portfolios in all of sports and entertainment.

The integrated unit, the TKO Live Events Strategy Team,will drive revenue growth strategies across key areas, including live event development and scheduling, tourism incentive programs, ticketing, and fan experiences. This new structure aligns with TKO’s efforts to leverage the power and expertise of both UFC and WWE to maximize event revenue potential and pursue growth opportunities and cost synergies.

Peter Dropick, who has played an important role in driving UFC’s industry leading live event success for nearly two decades, and who is a pivotal member of the senior executive team that has led UFC to five consecutive years of record revenue, has been elevated to lead the integrated unit as Executive Vice President, Event Development and Operations for TKO.

Dropick will work closely with UFC, WWE, and TKO leadership, including UFC President and CEO Dana White, WWE Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein, WWE President Nick Khan, and TKO CFO Andrew Schleimer, to leverage the massive global popularity of UFC and WWE and continue to grow the TKO live events business domestically and internationally.

“Demand for live sports and entertainment has never been stronger, and we believe our portfolio of events will continue to drive the growth of our business,” said Andrew Schleimer, Chief Financial Officer, TKO. “The newly integrated TKO Live Events Strategy Team will focus on creating operational efficiencies and developing strategies to leverage the broader economic benefits we bring to host cities, including partnering with local governments and maximizing revenue opportunities from site fees.”

In Q1 2024, UFC and WWE each set numerous live event attendance and revenue records, helping to fuel TKO’s strong start for the year. UFC sold out all five events with live audiences, including UFC 297 in Toronto, UFC’s highest-grossing arena event in Canada; UFC 298 in Anaheim, the highest grossing MMA event ever in California; and UFC 299 in Miami, setting the arena record and ranking among the highest-grossing UFC events of all time. WWE’s Premium Live Events in the quarter – Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber – delivered record gross gate revenue. Royal Rumble broke the all-time attendance record for Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Elimination Chamber in Perth brought out more than 52,000 fans to mark WWE’s first Australia event since 2018 as part of an agreement with Tourism Western Australia. In total, WWE events in Q1 set 54 individual market records for both gross and paid tickets across all event types, including 17 consecutive sell-outs for televised events.

Following the quarter’s close, the momentum continued in April, as WrestleMania 40 drew its largest-ever viewership and set a WWE gate record with 145,000 fans over two days at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. The next weekend, UFC 300 became one of the highest-grossing events in UFC history, recording a gate of $16.5 million and setting a UFC attendance record at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with 20,067 fans.

Natalya WWE Contract Status Update

As noted before, Natalya’s contract with WWE is currently set to expire very soon.

Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that WWE officials recently approached Natalya and offered her a new contract extension.

It was reported that the terms of WWE’s new offer are currently not known and Natalya has yet to sign a new deal with the company.

Triple H Announces King & Queen of the Ring Winners to Receive Titles Shots for SummerSlam 2024

WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque recently announced that the winners of this year’s King and Queen of the Ring tournaments will receive title shots opportunities at this year’s SummerSlam event on August 3rd in Cleveland, Ohio.

This year’s Finals for the King and Queen of the Ring tournaments will be taking place on Saturday, May 25th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.