Though the WWE Universe has been a part of the larger Endeavor Galaxy – if you want to call it that – since the day after WrestleMania 39, so far, the connection to the UFC-owning company hasn’t been particularly noticeable, with some fans potentially not realizing a change in ownership happened at all.
Appearing on Squawk on the Street for CNBC, Ari Emmanuel, the CEO of Endeavor, explained the current plans for WWE and how he expects to use the “UFC 2.0 playbook” to help expand the company to new heights.
“Exactly, and we do what we do as it relates to saving some cost, driving some revenue with sponsorship, international sales. Like we did at UFC, we’re going to do 2.0 at WWE,” Emmanuel said via F4W.
When asked what exactly that means moving forward, Emmanuel peeled back the front cover and showcased the first page or so of his playbook.
“Right now, we’re focused on saving some cost, doing sponsorship, which they didn’t have. It’s the same formula we used at UFC,” Emmanuel said. “[WWE’s] rights are open now, [UFC’s] in a year and a half from now. I think they are on separate time frames.”
Will WWE Superstars start coming to the ring with Jimmy John’s logos on their pants? Will WWE soon be running “Slim Jim’s SummerSlam” or have Monster Energy Drink logos in the corner of the ring? Only time will tell, but with a new television contract approaching soon, it would appear maximizing profits is at the top of Endeavor’s mind, even if they largely leave the in-ring wrestling work to Paul “Triple H” Levesque and the rest of the WWE creative staff.
Eric Bishoff believes Endeavor’s involvement in WWE will go unseen.
Discussing the same topics as Emmanuel in an interview with Jon Chuckery, Eric Bischoff noted that, while WWE is now a part of Endeavor, he doesn’t think it will be particularly noticeable on screen, as what the holdings company brings to the table is largely behind-the-scenes.
“I think 75% of the dynamics and the evolution between WWE and UFC [will be] under an umbrella,” Bischoff said via Fightful. “I think 75% of those dynamics are going to happen behind the scenes. I think UFC is going to benefit tremendously from the sophisticated, mature — it’s been around for a long time, licensing and merchandising infrastructure that comes with this acquisition. I guarantee you it is a much more sophisticated and mature and well-connected group of licensing and individual professionals in WWE than there is in UFC as well who’s gonna benefit from that? UFC is gonna benefit a lot from that. That’s one of the big ticket items that I see coming out of this right off the bat is a strong improvement UFC licensing and merchandising. Also, UFC is going to benefit from probably a much more sophisticated and well-established international licensing and television arm with that that exists in WWE, they’ve been doing it longer. That business is all about relationships and leverage. WWE is so well-established internationally that that will benefit UFC as well. On the WWE side. I think there’s going to be a lot of benefits that come with the leverage of Ari Emanuel and the gravity that he and Endeavor bring to the table in terms of an agency.”
Bischoff was then asked to discuss how the merger will impact Vince McMahon, who was afforded the title “Executive Chairman” under the new corporate structure.
“I don’t see this as a play for Vince McMahon to stay in power,” Bischoff added. “I really go. I mean, he didn’t have to consummate the sale. He put himself back in power. We saw that long before the announcement was made in the sales consummated closed. So it’s not consummated. It’s not consummated yet, probably won’t close for another 90 days, 120 days. I think this was the most interesting and it was the best way for Vince McMahon to go out. I don’t think Vince McMahon wanted to sit in that chair until he was 98, but I think he wanted to go up under his own terms, and that’s what this deal is. This is Vince McMahon going out on his terms and not anybody else’s. That’s what I see in all of this.”
Is Bishoff correct? Is this Mr. McMahon going out on his own terms, or instead, the only way he was able to stay in power at all, as other companies may have wanted to go with their guys instead of keeping the old structure in place? Fans may never know, but if Bischoff is correct, this was certainly a way to go out with a bang.
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