It was reported a couple of months ago that WWE has been acquired by the Endeavor Group, and the billion-dollar wrestling company will now be merged with the UFC to form a new publicly traded entity that will trade under the symbol TKO with a market valuation of $21 billion.
While WWE has been in talks about legalizing betting on the product, Endeavor COO Mark Shapiro doesn’t see betting as a viable growth strategy for the long term.
As we previously reported here on eWn, WWE has been negotiating with state gambling regulators to legalize betting on wrestling matches.
During a recent appearance on the Sports Media Podcast, Shapiro noted that more regulation is coming for sports betting. He said,
“More and more, it’s about what you can do in-game. It is about props, it is about parlays, it is about in-game betting, which lends itself so well to sports like the UFC, but I don’t think WWE — because it’s scripted — that’s ever going to be a growth strategy for them. Yes, you can get some betting on who’s going to win before the match, but in-game is gonna be very hard to do.”
Shapiro also weighed in on WWE possibly utilizing sponsorship apparel deals like the UFC does. UFC has inked multiple deals with companies that see sponsorships placed on fighter apparel, the mat, and more.
Shapiro said, “We haven’t finished this transaction, we’re still running through this process, we’re not making any decisions. We’re not in control, so I’m not going to forecast what we may or may not do. I’ll speak to you from a point of view of why we thought it was so attractive.”
“Yes, all of those are opportunities. You want to be authentic, seamless, organic, and true to your audience. We’re not going to put a brand on somebody’s robe walking to the ring. Do UFC fighters wear Venom apparel and Project Rock shoes? Yes, they do. Could WWE benefit from an apparel deal as such, a shoe deal as such? Absolutely. We’re not going to over-commercialize it. We’re not going to saturate it to the point that we cheap it out and trick it out, and you turn off the fanbase. You have to figure out what’s right in the ring, in the Octagon, what’s right in the arena, indoor and outdoor. What’s right with the fighters and the participants, and you have to walk before you run.”
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