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WWE, UFC merge live events teams

Featured image credit: UFC

TKO Group Holdings, the parent company of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has announced that it has integrated the two properties’ live events teams into one unit.

TKO said the integration will create one of the strongest live events portfolios in sports and entertainment. The integrated unit will be known as TKO Live Events Strategy Team.

It is hoped the company will drive revenue growth strategies across key areas, including live event development and scheduling, tourism incentive programmes, ticketing, and fan experiences.

Peter Dropick will lead the integrated unit as executive vice-president of event development and operations for TKO. Dropick has led UFC’s live events success for nearly two decades as part of the promotion’s senior executive team.

He will work closely with UFC, WWE and TKO leadership, including UFC president and chief executive Dana White, WWE chief content officer Paul Levesque, UFC chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein, WWE president Nick Khan, and TKO chief financial officer Andrew Schleimer.

Schleimer said: “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. 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 maximising revenue opportunities from site fees.”

UFC and WWE have been operating under the TKO banner since last year, when Endeavor closed a deal with WWE to bring the two properties together. Endeavor has a 51% shareholding in TKO, with WWE holding the remaining 49% stake.

The first quarter of the 2024 financial year saw UFC and WWE set numerous live event attendance and revenue records. UFC sold out all five events, including record-breaking fight nights in Toronto, Anaheim and Miami.

WWE’s premium live events for the quarter also delivered record gross gate revenue, with Royal Rumble breaking the all-time attendance record for Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Elimination Chamber event at Perth’s Optus Stadium also attracted more than 52,000 fans.

In other news, WWE has announced plans for three shows in Japan this summer, which will mark its first visit to the country since 2019.

The first show will be held at Edion Arena in Osaka on July 25, with back-to-back shows scheduled for Tokyo’s Ryogoku Arena on July 26 and July 27. The latter arena was a host venue during the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, staging boxing events.

The July events will mark WWE’s return to Tokyo after five years, and its first visit to Osaka in six years. WWE has a long history of live events in Japan dating back to 1994.

WWE also announced today (Thursday) that the 2026 edition of its SummerSlam event will take place over two nights at US Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

It will mark the first WWE premium live event in Minneapolis since 2019, and the first time WWE has staged a stadium event in the city. WWE will also work with Minnesota Sports and Events (MNSE) to deliver a host of fan and community events in the days leading up to and after SummerSlam.

This year’s SummerSlam will take place at Cleveland Browns Stadium.