UFC Revenue Hits Record-Breaking $1.3 Billion in 2023, Up 13% From the Previous Year

TKO Group is already reaping the benefits of its historic merger

Courtesy of @UFC on X

Despite fighter pay continuing to be a hot-button issue and a massive antitrust lawsuit looming, business is booming for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. 

According to a financial report from TKO Group — the parent company of both the UFC and World Wrestling Entertainment — the Las Vegas-based promotion generated a whopping $1.3 billion in revenue, which is up 13% from the previous year. The increase was driven by a massive 34% bump in live events leading to a record-breaking $168 million in 2023, with ticket revenues and site fees being the biggest factors. 

The UFC also saw its sponsorship revenue increase by 18% percent bringing in a record sum of 196 million. Much of that comes courtesy of the promotion’s recently-inked deal with Bud Light which is said to be the biggest sponsorship deal in UFC history, eclipsing more than $100 million by itself. 

Another $76 million in boosted revenue was added from media rights and content, which has steadily increased over the last three years. 

“TKO is off to a strong start following record financial performance in 2023 at both UFC and WWE,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of TKO, in a release. “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.”

The UFC Continues to Thrive Without Its Top Draw

It’s an especially impressive feat when you consider that the UFC’s top draw — Conor McGregor — has been shelved for the better part of three years after suffering a brutal leg injury in July 2021. The Irishman is responsible for eight of the 10 highest-grossing pay-per-views in the company’s history, but clearly, the UFC no longer needs McGregor to convince fans to throw down their hard-earned money. 

Later this year, the UFC is expected to begin negotiations for a new broadcasting deal once its current contract with ESPN expires in 2025. Recently, the WWE announced that its flagship show, Monday Night Raw, would move to Netflix next year in a blockbuster deal worth $5 billion over 10 years. 

However, the promotion could hit a massive speed bump in the coming months. On April 15, a class action antitrust lawsuit filed against the UFC is scheduled to begin. If a ruling is handed down in favor of the plaintiff, the UFC could be on the hook for anywhere between $894 million to $1.6 billion. 

For a deeper dive into the pending lawsuit against the UFC, check out the video below:

Published on February 28, 2024 at 9:48 pm
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