Emmanuel and Whitesell No. 4 on SBJ’s Most Influential in Sports Business for 2016
December 6, 2016
WME-IMG’s Ari Emmanuel and Patrick Whitesell have made Sports Business Journal’s Most Influential People in Sports Business for 2016. Emmanuel and Whitesell are key members of the new ownership group for the UFC.
SBJ noted the ascension of these two (last year they were No. 12 on the list) but noted the following in choosing them so high on the list:
Whether you’re with them or against them, you can’t ignore their influence. Their vast access to talent and intellectual property, global reach and forays into content production and distribution give them a seat at the table of virtually every major sports negotiation.
Obviously, the acquisition of the UFC this past year was one of the major shakeups in the sports due to the $4 billion price tag. Despite the concern over the leveraged purchase by federal regulators, the purchase drew eyebrows from the sports and financial word.
Notably, Adam Silver tops the list at No. 1 followed by Bob Iger and John Skipper tied at No. 2, Roger Goodell at No. 3 followed by Emmanuel and Whitesell.
To put this ranking in perspective, they rank ahead of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (No. 5), Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (No. 8) and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (No. 10). With its latest acquisition, the UFC, it has a sports property that is still emerging and find itself with several looming issues ahead including the possibility of fighter unionization, the ongoing antitrust lawsuit as well as an upcoming media rights deal.