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Endeavor President on Staying True to the WWE Audience, Not “Over-Commercializing” the WWE Product

Endeavor’s President Mark Shapiro says the company is open to increasing WWE sponsorship revenue, but they will not “over-commercialize” the WWE product.

Mark Shapiro appeared on the Sports Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch today and was asked about WWE sponsorship opportunities and if those could lead to brand logos on the ring gear worn by WWE Superstars.

“Look, you want to be authentic, you want to be seamless, you want to be organic, you want to be true to your audience,” Shapiro said. “So, no, we’re not going to put a brand on somebody’s robe walking into the ring. Now, by the way, do UFC fighters wear Venom apparel and Project Rock shoes when they come into the Octagon? Yes, they do. Could the WWE benefit from an apparel deal as such? A shoe deal as such? Absolutely but we’re not going to over-commercialize it, we’re not going to saturate it to the point that we cheap it out, we trick it out, and you turn off the fanbase.”

Mark Shapiro continued, “You’ve gotta figure out what’s right in the ring, in the Octagon. You’ve gotta figure out what’s right with the arena, indoor, outdoor. You’ve gotta figure out what’s right with the fighters and the participants, and you gotta walk before you run.”

WWE CEO Nick Khan previously stated that the company would be open to monetizing things like the ring skirt and the ramp, with sponsor logos like you see in the UFC. Back in February, Nick Khan told an investor during the Q4 & Full Year 2022 Earnings call that this is something WWE was taking a deep-dive look at, and it’s something they want to do. Then earlier this month, Nick Khan stated during the Q1 2023 Earnings call that WWE has been focused on signing more long-term sponsorship deals and getting out of the business of one-offs, and into the business of long-term partnerships. Nick Khan said they believe when the Endeavor deal is finalized, it will ignite their sponsorship sales even more.

Mark Shapiro reiterated that the transaction has not yet been finalized and that they are not currently in a position to make decisions for WWE. The deal is expected to be finalised later this year after they receive regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

It was revealed this week that Endeavor’s new sports entertainment company will be called TKO Group Holdings, but WWE and UFC will retain their respective names.


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