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TKO Merges UFC and WWE Global Partnerships Teams

Combined unit to offer brands unprecedented integration within two sports and entertainment properties.

License Global

January 4, 2024

2 Min Read

In April, License Global shared that Endeavor Group Holdings and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) were planning to form a new, publicly listed company consisting of the global sports entertainment brands, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and WWE. The deal closed in September. Now, TKO Group Holdings, a sports and entertainment company, has announced it has combined the UFC and WWE global partnerships teams into one unit, providing brands access to one of the world’s more extensive sports marketing portfolios.

UFC and WWE, which collectively serve more than one billion fans in 170 countries, provide brand partners with wide scale and reach across multiple platforms, including premium live events, original content and digital media. Further powered and enhanced by the Endeavor flywheel, the company’s global infrastructure that also includes IMG’s sales teams around the world, UFC and WWE together can offer marketers significantly expanded inventory, vastly increased brand visibility, extensive international reach and integration opportunities across UFC and WWE premier content.

Grant Norris-Jones, who has played a key role in driving UFC’s global partnerships to six consecutive years of record revenue, has been elevated to lead the integrated unit as executive vice president and head of global partnerships, TKO, which includes the entirety of UFC and WWE properties. Norris-Jones will work alongside Lou Koskovolis, who also takes on an expanded role as executive vice president, global partnerships, TKO. Together, they will focus on delivering unique, authentic integrations for TKO’s corporate partners. This new joint effort will further benefit from additional support and collaboration with the Endeavor Partnerships team to maximize value for brands across the entire Endeavor portfolio of assets.

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With partnership sales, activations and operations teams in New York, Las Vegas, Stamford, Conn., London, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Shanghai and Toronto, the newly combined unit will focus on creating new revenue opportunities and brand integrations across UFC’s and WWE’s must-watch live and original content.

“Since Endeavor acquired UFC in 2016, UFC’s global partnerships business has become a significant growth area,” says Andrew Schleimer, chief financial officer, TKO. “And we believe WWE’s partnerships business has similar potential. Together, UFC and WWE create a sports marketing powerhouse, with hundreds of live events per year and a reach that’s equal to, or better than, the world’s biggest sports properties. The newly integrated global partnerships team will offer premium brands the opportunity to integrate and activate within UFC’s and WWE’s extraordinarily popular content to engage their massive fan bases around the world.”

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In recent years, UFC has partnered with brands that are consumer product and category leaders, including Anheuser-Busch, Crypto.com, DraftKings, Jose Cuervo, Monster Energy, PRIME Hydration, Timex and VeChain.

In addition, WWE has worked with dozens of brands across its roster of promotional assets. Over the last year, WWE has activated with Applebee’s, General Mills, Mattel, Netflix, PepsiCo, Pizza Hut, Slim Jim and Snickers.

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About the Author(s)

License Global

License Global is the leading news source for the brand licensing industry, delivering award-winning editorial content including news, trends, analysis, and special reports about the global consumer product and retail marketplace.

Through its print edition, website, daily e-newsletter and event publications, License Global reaches more than 150,000 executives and professionals in all major markets. The magazine also serves as the official publication for the sector’s trade events, which include Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo Japan, Licensing Expo Shanghai and the Licensing Leadership Summit.

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