The pro wrestling world continues to reverberate from the news that Vince McMahon is back on the Board of Directors for WWE, just five months after retiring from the company in the wake of a scandal that first broke last June. Over the last 24 hours, one of the things that was made very clear is that McMahon believes the time is now to explore a sale of WWE, something that as majority shareholder, he was unwilling to allow if he was not back in a position of power.
Some wrestling journalists have expressed a belief that McMahon may have lined up a prospective buyer during his time away, returning now because he has enough interest to push forward with a deal. That’s led to a natural follow-up query: Who are the most likely companies to acquire WWE?
An obvious candidate is Comcast. Its subsidiary, NBCUniversal, is one of WWE’s primary broadcast partners, airing Raw on USA and delivering premium live events and WWE Network programming to U.S. fans through its streaming service Peacock. The thought is that with WWE’s broadcast rights coming up for renegotiation soon, Comcast could simply buy the whole company and own its programming outright instead of bidding for it every few years.
But there are other possibilities as well, as Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics tweeted out Friday:
Amazon would cause a stir among the general public, but Endeavor is an even more interesting possibility for fans of combat sports as it already owns UFC. Acquiring WWE would make it a sibling of UFC, putting McMahon (assuming he makes a deal contingent on him remaining in power, which is highly plausible) and Dana White under the same corporate umbrella.
Even though one is in the business of “sports entertainment” and the other in promoting actual fights, the similarities between the two men are easy to highlight. Both took businesses with limited mainstream appeal at the start and elevated them to global success. And they did it by scoffing at conventional wisdom along the way, thumbing their noses — often in direct and confrontational fashion — at people who thought they couldn’t turn their uncompromising vision into reality.
(Though White would likely bristle at the insinuation, he’s often seemed to be operating from the same playbook McMahon used before him in the promotion of UFC fighters and events as well.)
Critics would say McMahon and White share a seeming disdain for their talent; both companies, for example, place restrictions on their workers that strain the definition of independent contractors. There’s no question that both men are currently beset by scandal: McMahon for paying women to stay silent about alleged affairs and sexual harassment, and White for striking his wife in an altercation on New Year’s Eve.
Endeavor already knows what kind of leader White is, which is why it’s not that hard to imagine it getting into bed with another one like him. There are existing connections between Endeavor and WWE from business and technology perspectives. And president Mark Shapiro said Endeavor would be interested in buying WWE if it were ever for sale in a podcast appearance with The Ringer last fall.
Analysts have long believed that WWE had untapped potential in terms of corporate sponsorship, something that UFC has only seen increase since being acquired by Endeavor in 2021. The synergies appear obvious, so all that remains to be seen is whether the biggest names in pro wrestling and MMA end up formally sharing them.