UFC 200: Payout Perspective – Part 2 of 2

July 13, 2016

Welcome to UFC 200’s Part 2 of Payout Perspective.  We are once again recapping the weekend that was in the UFC.

UFC Sold to WME | IMG

The news came out on Sunday that Zuffa, LLC had sold the UFC to an investment group spearheaded by William Morris Endeavor and International Management Group.  As we learned the sale price was approximately $4 billion.

While Jeremy Botter’s report was met with denials as well as a lawyer letter, the news was true.  The Fertitta Brothers, Dana White and Flash Entertainment sold its shares in the UFC.

Prior to Sunday’s news, Los Angeles Times and TMZ both ran articles refuting the stories of a sale which were backed by Zuffa executives.  The TMZ story did not cite names but quotes from Zuffa execs while the Times ran a piece which included sit downs with White and Lorenzo Fertitta

More Promotion

UFC 200 introduced its main event of Jones vs. Cormier (after McGregor-Diaz was scrapped) on ABC’s Good Morning America.  The event included Dana White, Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Miesha Tate, Chuck Liddell and Frankie Edgar.  It was the second time that a fight was announced on GMA.  This time around, the UFC was front and center on the show.  It was good exposure for the company.  Too bad the main event didn’t stick.

Forbes ran a piece on the marketing behind those crazy graffiti posters.  Apparently part of the idea was based on Conor McGregor’s tirade at the pre-fight press conference at UFC 197.  McGregor was promoting his fight against Rafael dos Anjos.  Imagine if RDA did not get injured.

Bud Light offered limited edition UFC bottles.  Guess who promoted them:

Payouts

The complete list of salaries from UFC 200 as disclosed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission is as follows (via MMA Junkie):

Amanda Nunes: $100,000 (no win bonus)
def. Miesha Tate: $500,000

Brock Lesnar: $2,500,000 (no win bonus)
def. Mark Hunt: $700,000

Daniel Cormier: $500,000 (no win bonus)
def. Anderson Silva: $600,000

Jose Aldo: $500,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Frankie Edgar: $190,000

Cain Velasquez: $300,000 (no win bonus)
def. Travis Browne: $120,000

Julianna Pena: $64,000 (includes $32,000 win bonus)
def. Cat Zingano: $35,000

Kelvin Gastelum: $86,000 (includes $33,000 win bonus and $20,000 from Hendricks’ purse)
def. Johny Hendricks: $80,000(Hendricks forfeited 20 percent of his original $100,000 show money to Gastelum for missing weight)

T.J. Dillashaw: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Raphael Assuncao: $42,000

Sage Northcutt: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Enrique Marin: $13,000

Joe Lauzon: $108,000 (includes $54,000 win bonus)
def. Diego Sanchez: $80,000

Gegard Mousasi: $110,000 (includes $35,000 win bonus)
def. Thiago “Marreta” Santos: $28,000

Jim Miller: $118,000 (includes $59,000 win bonus)
def. Takanori Gomi: $55,000

The Reebok Clothing payouts are here via MMA Junkie.  Notably, Aldo and Edgar both made $30,000 each as “challengers” since they were vying for the interim(?) Featherweight title.

Odds and Ends

What has happened to Johny Hendricks?

Early weigh-ins did not help Johny Hendrick as he yet again had issues with weight cutting.  Notably, Kelvin Gastelum has had problems in the past and just made the limit.  Miesha Tate had to disrobe to make the championship weight.

UFC 200 Prelims scored the highest rated show ever on FS2 as the first 31 minutes was switched to the network due to MLB going extra innings on FS1.  Despite the delay due to baseball, FS1 was the highest-rated prelim ever in the adult 28-49 demo.  The prelims on FS1 peaked with over 2 million viewers in the last quarter hour.

The last hour of the prelims went head-to-head with the first hour of PBC on ESPN.  PBC scored 442,000 viewers for its 2-hour plus event on Saturday night.

UFC offered the event in 4K.  It was the first time that a PPV was offered in 4K by any sport organization.

I missed Jon Jones’ press conference but I cannot say I feel sorry for him.  Whether or not he took PEDs, he’s been given chance after chance to succeed, but continues to fail.

Think about how much Jon Jones cost the UFC for them to tear down his posters and take his likeness off of the T-Mobile Arena.  There’s also the unsold t-shirts and posters.  He also cost UFC employees a night’s sleep to re-do all of the promotion centered around the Jones-Cormier main event.  Now that’s selfish.

International Fight Week

If you’ve never been to International Fight Week, it’s sort of like the NFL Experience at the Super Bowl.  If you have never been to that, think big convention hall with tons of sponsor/vendor booths, interactive areas and talks from special guests.  It’s a great thing to go and see if you’re a big UFC fan.  I realize that over the years this event may have lost steam, but once again, it’s something for the true UFC fan.

While UFC 200 and International Fight Week may have been much bigger with Ronda Rousey and/or Conor McGregor on the card, the event and week is a good opportunity for the UFC and its partners to engage with its fan base.

Dana White’s new deal grants him percentage of UFC’s net profits

July 12, 2016

ESPN reports that Dana White’s deal under new UFC ownership is 5 years and 9% of the company’s net profits.

White owned a small percentage of the UFC under the Zuffa umbrella.  He sold his shares as part of the $4 billion sale to WME-IMG.  It’s not known whether White received a portion of the company under the new ownership.

Under back of the envelope math, the article compares the UFC to other entertainment businesses and opined that the UFC’s net profits could be in the $200 million range.  Based on this, White’s annual salary could be $18 million.  You may recall that Lorenzo Fertitta told CNN Money that the company grossed $600 million in 2015.

The article compares White’s projected salary to that of NFL commission Roger Goodell who averaged $21 million a year for the first 10 years of his time as head of the NFL.  Goodell now makes in excess of $34.1 million.   $3.5 million of that is base while the rest is a bonus.

Payout Perspective:

The deal for 9% of the company’s net profit gives White incentive to grow the business and see its profits continue to rise.  White likely cashed out $360 million in the $4 billion sale.  The new deal could put white in the same luxury neighborhood as the Fertittas.

Rousey featured in new Reebok #PerfectNever ad

July 12, 2016

Reebok launched a new digital ad featuring Ronda Rousey entitled, #PerfectNever.

Dana White indicated that Rousey should be the next in line to challenge new women’s bantamweight Amanda Nunes if she so chooses.

The ad includes a Rousey blog post on Reebok’s site and a new promotion for tickets to UFC 205 in New York City.  Possibly the event could mark the return of Rousey in the promotion’s debut in New York.

Payout Perspective:

The promotion obviously addresses the end of Rousey’s undefeated record and her subsequent return to the Octagon.  It’s a slick ad that also serves as a launch for Reebok’s second year as the official clothier of the UFC.  The clothing brand launched new kits at UFC 200 this past Saturday.

UFC 200 Prelims draws 1.7M viewers

July 12, 2016

The UFC 200 Prelims on FS1 drew one of its top ratings for the prelims on the network with 1.786M viewers Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The ratings drew well despite starting off on FS2 due to baseball.

The Prelims on FS1 aired from 5:31pm to 7:00pm PT due to the MLB game preceding it going to extra innings.  The Prelims start on FS2 airing from 5:00pm to 5:32pm PT drew 582,000 viewers and 379,000 in the Adult 18-49 demo.  The ratings made it the most-watched telecast in FS2 history in both metrics per Nielsen.

When on FS1, the Prelims drew 1.084 million viewers in the adult 18-49 demo making it the most-watched UFC Prelims telecast in this demo.  The show peaked with 2,046,000 viewers in the last quarter hour (6:45pm-7:00pm PT)

The 200 Prelims comes in third in terms of all-time highest-rated prelims on FS1.  UFC 196 in March drew 1.843 million viewers and UFC 194 drew 1.931M viewers in December 2015.

The UFC 200 Prelims were highlighted by Juliana Pena defeating Cat Zingano in the last fight of the televised prelims.

 

In addition, the UFC Post-Fight Show on FS1 drew 244,000 viewers and 142,000 viewers in adult 18-49 demo.  The UFC Pre-Fight Show which was switched to FS2 drew 99,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The big ratings for the prelim card is one of the indicators that many look at when guessing the buy rate.  We note that the two other UFC Prelims scoring over 1.7M viewers featured Conor McGregor in the PPV main event.  Both of those events drew over 1 million PPV buys.  The viewership in the adult 18-49 demo should please the UFC’s new owners as it set a record on FS1 and FS2 in terms of viewership.

TUF 23 coaches top salaries for Finale

July 12, 2016

Joanna Jedrzejcyk topped the list of payouts for Friday’s TUF Finale in Vegas.  The women’s strawweight champion made $210,000 for her title defense against Claudia Gadelha according to disclosed payouts released from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

The rest of the payouts are here via MMA Junkie:

Joanna Jedrzejczyk: $210,000 (includes $105,000 win bonus)
def. Claudia Gadelha: $100,000

Andrew Sanchez: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Khalil Rountree: $15,000

Tatiana Suarez: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Cooper: $15,000

Will Brooks: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Ross Pearson: $54,000

Doo Ho Choi: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Thiago Tavares: $37,000

Joaquim Silva: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Andrew Holbrook: $12,000

Gray Maynard: $96,000 (includes $48,000 win bonus)
def. Fernando Bruno: $12,000

Matheus Nicolau: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. John Moraga: $28,000

Josh Stansbury: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Cory Hendricks: $10,000

Cezar Ferreira: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Smith: $15,000

Kevin Lee: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Jake Matthews: $22,000

Li Jingliang: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Anton Zafir: $10,000

Payout Perspective:

Notably, Will Brooks earned $100,000 for his UFC debut against Ross Pearson.  Brooks, the former Bellator lightweight champ that was released from the Viacom-owned company in May was making approximately $36K/$36K although there were reports that Bellator offered him more to stay.  For Brooks, starting at $50K/$50K shows respect by the UFC that they think he has potential to be a headliner.  For Gadelha, her $100K salary reflects a 10x increase from her first fight with Jedrzejczyk at UFC on Fox 13 in December 2014.

RDA, Alvarez top UFC Fight Night 90 salaries

July 11, 2016

MMA Junkie reports the salaries from Thursday’s UFC Fight Night 90.  Eddie Alvarez and Rafael dos Anjos topped the salaries on the roster Thursday.

The salaries were disclosed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Via MMA Junkie:

Eddie Alvarez: $150,000 (no win bonus)
def. Rafael dos Anjos: $310,000

Derrick Lewis: $66,000 (includes $33,000 win bonus)
def. Roy Nelson: $100,000

Alan Jouban: $42,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Belal Muhammad: $12,000

Joseph Duffy: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Mitch Clarke: $12,000

Alberto Mina: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Pyle: $55,000

John Makdessi: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Mehdi Baghdad: $12,000

Anthony Birchak: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Dileno Lopes: $12,000

Pedro Munhoz: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
def. Russell Doane: $11,000

Felipe Arantes: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. Jerrod Sanders: $12,000

Gilbert Burns: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
def. Lukasz Sajewski: $10,000

Marco Beltran: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Reginaldo Vieira: $17,000

Vicente Luque: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Alvaro Herrera: $12,000

Payout Perspective:

Alvarez received $150,000 with no win bonus.  The former champ, RDA, received $310,000.  Other notable salaries included Roy Nelson earning $100,000.  Derrick Lewis is slowly moving up the UFC salary scale making $33k/$33K.

UFC 200: Payout Perspective – Part 1 of 2

July 11, 2016

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 200 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Nunes upsets Tate to win women’s title

If I were to tell you at the start of the year that the main event for July’s UFC 200 would be Amanda Nunes versus Miesha Tate, you probably would have thought that it was a joke.  However, due to Ronda Rousey’s movie career, Conor McGregor’s poorly played power move and a Jon Jones drug test, we received Nunes-Tate as the final fight on what was/is supposed to be the biggest card of the year for the UFC.

Amanda Nunes looked sharped and started off quick as she always does.  She peppered Tate and may have broken her nose.  Once it got to the ground, Nunes applied the rear-naked choke (or chin crank) for the victory.  You could see Tate being broken as the round went on.  She barely made weight for this fight despite seemingly calm throughout the rest of the camp.

Nunes was emotional and became the first openly gay UFC champion for the sport.  It was fitting as it was the same weekend that the UFC announced its line of apparel in support of the LGBTQ community.  Of course, the weekend was somewhat tarnished by comments made by Donald Cerrone on Sunday although The Cowboy did apologize immediately.

Nunes may have Holly Holm or a returning Ronda Rousey at year’s end.  If Rousey decides to return to the Octagon, I could envision a New York defense for Nunes against Rousey.

UFC 200

Lesnar dominates Hunt in return to Octagon

Brock Lesnar surprised most of the MMA fanbase as he defeated Mark Hunt in a 3-round heavyweight bout.  Although Lesnar’s last time in the Octagon looked very bad (a loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141), he looked quick and his wrestling helped squash Hunt.  In another surprise, Lesnar’s post-fight interview was far-less dynamic and much more humanitarian than beast-like in his UFC 100 tirade which even UFC Fight Pass censors due to his comments about sponsor Bud Light.

This was supposed to be a one-time thing for Lesnar as he was on “loan” (for $2.5M +) from the WWE.  We will see if he will fight again.  If he does, you have to think he’s close to being in line for a title shot.

Aldo wins interim belt as McGregor watches on

Jose Aldo looked like his old self in securing a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar.  Aldo’s ability to stuff takedowns and score on the outside helped him defeat a game Edgar.  Aldo should receive his much-anticipated rematch against Conor McGregor (after his one-off with Nate next month).

Not sure what Edgar will do next.  He had been on a great run up until Saturday.  However, he’ll have to hope for a Conor win to get another shot at the 145 title.

Attendance and Gate

The UFC set a gate record in Nevada with $10.7 million for the 18,202 in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Bonuses

The bonuses of $50,000 went to Amanda Nunes, Cain Vevlasquez, Joe Lauzon and Gegard Mousasi.  All were performance bonuses as there was no Fight of the Night.

Payouts

The biggest payout was Brock Lesnar and his $2.5 million.  Even with no win bonus, it’s the largest reported payout for a UFC fighter.  No complaints from anyone else as Lesnar likely brought in many PPV purchasers.  Lesnar likely will make more from his PPV cut.

Lesnar’s opponent, Mark Hunt, received $700,000 for stepping in with the WWE superstar.  According to Kevin Iole, the Nevada State Athletic Commission stated that Cormier was slated to make $1 million for his fight with Jon Jones.  But since that was cancelled, he made $500,000.

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC bought ad time on Adult Swim in an effort to expand its reach as well as touch upon the network’s African American demo.  At the time, the main event was Cormier-Jones.

In addition, the UFC had a “confrontation show” on FS1 with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier talking about their fight.

Bud Light and Monster Energy held promotions months in advance holding trips to win a chance to go to UFC 200.

The UFC did their usual media stops although it did not seem as broad a reach as UFC 196.

Sponsors

The special gold mat included the usual sponsors as well as a couple new ones.  EA UFC2, Harley-Davidson, MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Bud Light and Monster were all in the Octagon with the energy drink having the center of the Octagon.  Hudson Shipping Lines, a mainstay sponsor on many International UFC cards had signage in the Octagon.  DirecTV promoted its original show, Kingdom.  It showed clips of the show as well as showing stars in attendance.  Also, Speedway was also in the Octagon sharing a signage post with Monster.  The company is a gas and convenient store with most of its locations on the East Coast.  It ran a promotion in conjunction with Monster leading up to this event.

Bud Light had the prep point at the televised weigh-ins and at the event.

As we mention, Bud Light and Monster Energy had promotions far in advance of 200.

Odds and ends

Yes, we’ll address the sale in another post.

The mat probably was to be more a gold look but was yellow to commemorate UFC 200.

The UFC offered 200 in 4K.  It was the first time ever and event was offered in PPV.

This was the first reveal of the Reebok kits.  It had more colors.  Notably the yellow looked good for Anderson Silva as it was his usually color.  But, the yellow also was the same as the mat.

Interesting that DC was wearing his Nike Air Max shoes during fight week including during the Embedded where Dana White told Cormier that his fight with Jones was off.

The WWE did not actively promote UFC 200 although the PPV featured an ad for Summerslam.  It was not until Brock’s win did the WWE social media machine engage.

While there is so much love for Lesnar right now, an injury-free Cain Velasquez at sea-level is probably the best heavyweight out there.

It’s been slightly over 1 year with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and the company’s biggest event is greatly affected by it.  At least we know that there are no favorites in the process.

The UFC and Snapchat announced a multi-year partnership for coverage of its live events which began at UFC 200.

The UFC Prelims on FS1 were sent to FS2 for the first half hour due to the MLB game that preceeded the event going to extra innings.  The FS1 audience missed out on the Sage Northcutt fight.  Despite an average (maybe below) average performance, Sage secured an individual Reebok sponsorship.

The Exclusive UFC Fight Pass Prelims had some of the more exciting fights of the night on it as it produced two bonus winners (Lauzon, Mousasi).

Speaking of Fight Pass, I was interviewed by The Verge about how the UFC became the ‘Netflix of Combat.”

Conclusion

We’ll have more on the event, the Expo, Jon Jones and more in part 2.  But, everyone probably wants to know what an estimated buy rate would be for this event.  While we pondered whether this event could draw 2 million PPV buys, that would be unlikely after the Jon Jones debacle.  Jones is not a big PPV draw but the promotion and marketing was centered around the feud with Cormier.  UFC 182 drew 800,000 PPV buys.  With Lesnar and two other title fights, one would think that it could draw near the 2 million mark.  Even without the feud, UFC 200 should do well with just the name Brock Lesnar attached.  UFC 200 should doing something between 1 million to 1.2 million PPV buys.  While it won’t eclipse UFC 100’s buy rate, it will be a good sendoff for Zuffa.

TUF 23 Finale posts 1.086 million viewers

July 11, 2016

The Ultimate Fighter Finale on FS1 Friday night drew 1.086 million viewers according to Sports TV Ratings.  It was the highest-rated sports cable TV programming on Friday.

The main card aired from 10:00pm-1:22am ET and drew 657,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The main event featured Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha.  Joanna Champion dominated the later rounds earning the victory.

In addition, the TUF Prelims which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 642,000 viewers.  It drew 352,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The event improved upon the TUF Finale this past December which drew 883,000 viewers (but 809,000 for the Prelims).  Last July’s TUF 21 Finale drew 691,000 viewers (470,000 for the Prelims).  In 2014, July’s TUF Finale drew 1 million viewers (774,000 for the Prelims).  Considering December’s card featured Edgar-Mendes and last July featured Thompson-Ellenberger, this Friday’s event has to be considered a success with two strawweights and prospects anchoring this card.

Zuffa sends letter confirming sale to fighters

July 11, 2016

MMA Junkie reports that UFC contracted fighters have received a letter about the sale of the company.

The letter addressed to “Athletes” from “The Zuffa executive team” states that “the athletes, have always been the central focus of the promotion.  That will not change.”

The letter goes on to say that the new owners, WME | IMG would focus “on the continued global expansion of mixed martial arts and committed to further promoting you [the athlete] on the global stage.”

Payout Perspective:

The letter comes just a couple weeks after Zuffa sent an internal memo to its employees that the UFC had not been sold.  As we know, it was just semantics as Zuffa did not finalize the sale until this past weekend.  The likely plan was to make the announcement after Saturday’s UFC 200.  The letter is assurance that the new owners will take care of them in the future.  Of course, Zuffa does not know if that will be the case.

WME-IMG to acquire UFC per official release

July 11, 2016

As we all knew last night, the announcement was made official this morning.  WME-IMG announced the acquisition of the UFC per its own press release.

The release is below:

BEVERLY HILLS, CA (July 11, 2016) – WME | IMG today announced the acquisition of UFC, the world’s premier professional mixed martial arts (MMA) organization.

A global leader in entertainment and sports with a portfolio of more than 800 owned, operated and/or commercially represented events, WME | IMG will also serve as UFC’s operating partner. WME | IMG, which has a proven track record of building leading sports brands, will focus on accelerating the sport’s popularity and presence around the world. Silver Lake Partners and KKR will join WME | IMG as new strategic investors, along with MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P. which will provide preferred equity financing.

“We’ve been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes,” said WME | IMG Co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell. “It’s been exciting to watch the organization’s incredible growth over the last decade under the leadership of the Fertitta brothers, Dana White and their dedicated team. We’re now committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport’s continued growth and success on a global scale.”

Founded in 1993, UFC is one of the largest and fastest growing sports brands in the world, particularly among millennials. The organization produces more than 40 live events annually and is the largest Pay-Per-View event provider in the world, broadcast in over 156 countries and territories, to nearly 1.1 billion television households worldwide, in 29 different languages. UFC continues to capitalize on digital distribution platforms via its wholly-owned subscription over-the-top service, FIGHT PASS, delivering exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content to fans around the globe.

UFC held its much-anticipated UFC 200 event in Las Vegas on July 9. Since its centennial event in 2009, UFC has undertaken a number of measures to increase awareness among fans globally, expanding its presence in Europe, Latin America and Asia, and adding women’s divisions. The organization has also led the way among sports in promoting athlete safety. UFC is one of the largest contributors to the Cleveland Clinic’s Professional Fighters Brain Health Study, and it has the most robust drug testing program in professional sports administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

“No other sport compares to UFC,” remarked Dana White, UFC’s President who will continue in that role. “Our goal has always been to put on the biggest and the best fights for our fans, and to make this the biggest sport in the world. I’m looking forward to working with WME | IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level.”

Lorenzo J. Fertitta, Chairman and CEO, UFC, said: “We’re confident that the new ownership team of WME | IMG, with whom we’ve built a strong relationship over the last several years, is committed to accelerating UFC’s global growth. Most importantly, our new owners share the same vision and passion for this organization and its athletes.”

Upon closing, Lorenzo Fertitta will step down from day-to-day operations, but Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta will both retain a passive minority interest in the organization.

WME | IMG’s strategic investment partners include leading global investment firms Silver Lake and KKR who have a track record of growing strong business enterprises in diverse industries together.

Silver Lake first made a strategic minority investment in WME in 2012 to support the company’s development of new business models and distribution channels leveraging the convergence of content creation and technology. Silver Lake subsequently reinvested in WME and supported its management team in the company’s 2014 acquisition of IMG.

Since 2015, WME | IMG and Silver Lake have completed a number of acquisitions to expand WME | IMG’s capabilities and client services globally and to broaden its owned event portfolio and content offerings through properties like the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR). The PBR Built Ford Tough Series has broken ten event attendance records and increased television viewership over 20% in 2016 following WME | IMG’s acquisition. As part of WME | IMG’s platform, UFC will leverage the same global relationships and capabilities to accelerate its growth trajectory.

In addition to its sports marketing and global events portfolio, WME | IMG also represents a  diverse roster of artists and content creators across every entertainment vertical, including motion picture, television, music, books, digital and theater. Its sports client roster ranges from professional athletes to sports federations and leagues to more than 200 collegiate institutions. The company also works with top-100 global advertisers to develop meaningful consumer platforms and helps new and iconic brands optimize their licensing potential.

 

Each year, IMG produces more than 52,000 hours of sports programming and arranges to distribute an additional 32,000 hours on behalf of more than 200 clients including major sports leagues and associations like The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (Wimbledon), the National Football League, Premier League, Major League Soccer and Euroleague. The company also operates one of the largest sports training institutions in the world, IMG Academy.

The UFC transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and Proskauer Rose LLP served as legal advisors to the buying group and Freshfields served as legal advisor to MSD Capital. Barclays, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., affiliates of Goldman, Sachs & Co., and KKR Capital Markets LLC (in alphabetical order) are acting as the buyers’ financial advisors and are providing financing for the transaction.

The transaction was led for the sellers by UFC CFO Nakisa Bidarian, with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP as legal advisors, and The Raine Group and J.P. Morgan as financial advisors.

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