People beating the ever-living hell out of other people remains a great business

The first full quarter from WWE and UFC’s new corporate parent was a knockout.

The kids who stood around your playground chanting “fight, fight, fight” at any hint of a tussle grew up and have money now.

TKO revenue

Or at least they did. Record spending from the ever-ravenous fan bases of UFC and WWE have TKO Group Holdings, the new combined corporate home for the two combative giants, off to a strong start.

  • TKO cleaned up in its first full quarter since its September formation, with $614m in quarterly revenue — $331.2m from WWE, $282.8m from UFC.

Where did it all come from?

Both wings of TKO surely know how to sell merch, activate sponsors, and critically, put people in seats (WWE also happens to know how to put seats in people).

  • UFC increased live event revenue by $42.6m in 2023.
  • WWE’s live attendance was up 34% last year.

But TKO’s biggest money maker remains TV rights — media fees make up 64% of WWE revenue; 59% for UFC. And that was before WWE inked its $5B Netflix deal in January.

It’s awfully hard to gather a lot of eyeballs at once in 2024. Though TKO’s ratings don’t reach the heights of the NFL powerhouse, its fans consistently tune in en masse.

  • WWE’s “Raw” is cable’s top-rated show, averaging 1.7m viewers so far this year.
  • UFC largely employs a pay-per-view model, but its numbers remain impressive: over its history, 77 different bouts have garnered 500k+ buyers.

What’s next?

Fresh off adding Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (and his 398M Instagram followers) to its board of directors, TKO is planning to expand its international footprint.

  • Its 10-year deal with Netflix notably gives the streamer rights to broadcast WWE content outside the US starting in 2025.

One caveat: TKO’s got momentum but the company’s not doing everything it can to maintain it — to our knowledge, it has not yet employed this dog.

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