TKO Delivers Strong Q4 and Full Year 2023 Earnings as UFC and WWE Rise on Event Revenue and Sponsorship Pacts

Rexa Vella

TKO Delivers Strong Q4 and Full Year 2023 Earnings as UFC and WWE Rise on Event Revenue and Sponsorship Pacts

UFC and WWE logged record revenue and sponsorship deals in 2023, which added up to a strong fourth quarter for TKO, the newly formed parent company of both sports brands.

The strong numbers for WWE stand in contrast to the controversy that erupted last month when disturbing sexual assault allegations were leveled against former WWE chairman Vince McMahon in a lawsuit by a former WWE employee. McMahon, who was the longtime leader of WWE prior to its September marger with UFC, has strongly denied the claims, but WWE and TKO leaders were quick to distance the company from its longtime leader and majority owner, forcing him to resign as chairman of TKO. McMahon still holds a considerable stake in the company, which was formed last September after the WWE-UFC merger. Endeavor, which reports Q4 earnings on Feb. 28, has majority interest in TKO and consolidates its results.

In reporting Q4 and full-year 2023 earnings on Tuesday, TKO issued its first-ever financial guidance to investors, projecting revenue of $2.575 billion to $2.650 billion and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $1.150 billion to $1.170 billion. Moreover, the company asserts that will have an enviable rate of revenue to free cash flow conversion “in excess of 50%.”

The final months of 2023 were a heady period for WWE and UFC, prior to the latest scandal to engulf McMahon, who previously faced sexual abuse allegations and WWE had to belatedly acknowledge settlement payments that were made in connection with claims against McMahon. In October, UFC signed what is described as the biggest sponsorship pact in its 30-year history with beer giant Anheuser-Busch. UFC and WWE both logged record revenue from live event ticket sales and sponsorship.

Total revenue for the quarter came in it $614 million, with adjusted EBITDA hitting $223.2 million. For the full year, the combined operations of UFC and WWE delivered $809.1 million in revenue and $628.7 million in adjusted EBITDA. Net income was $175.7 million.

“TKO is off to a strong start following record financial performance in 2023 at both UFC and WWE,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of TKO and Endeavor. “We secured Anheuser-Busch as the official beer partner of UFC, delivered a transformative deal to bring WWE’s ‘Raw’ to Netflix beginning in 2025, and expanded our international footprint in important growth markets. We have more conviction than ever in the combination of these businesses and TKO’s ability to drive topline growth and margin expansion, generate meaningful free cash flow, and deliver sustainable long-term value for shareholders.”

UFC was the star player in

• The UFC segment delivered record financial results. Revenue increased 13% to $1.3 billion and Adjusted EBITDA1 increased 11% to $756 million
• UFC live events revenue increased 34% to a record $168 million, driven by growth in ticket revenues and site fees. UFC held 43 events that generated significant viewership gains and set several all-time records for gross revenue at respective arenas
• UFC sponsorship revenue increased 18% to a record $196 million, driven by new brand partners and renewal increases

More to come

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