As reported earlier this week Endeavor, owners of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), announced terms for a sale/merger with WWE. (click here for the full press release)
Speaking with TMZ Sports former WCW President Eric Bischoff spoke on what we can expect from the new ownership, the benefits from the sale and does the WWE sale change anything in the wrestling landscape.
“I’m still surprised, I did call the Endeavour play early on, I think I was one of the few people that called that one. Never the less still surprised. I didn’t think I would see the day that Vince McMahon would sell the WWE, apparently that’s what’s happened.
I really thought that Vince would make the move to take the company private, that was going to be the play that I predicted, really. To sell the company, its still surprising me, to this day I never would of bet on that.”
Bischoff on if we should expect things to be different under new ownership…
“There’s always going to be change right, I don’t think we are going to see anything over the next 6 months or a year that will be noticeable to us. There may be some management announcements along the way and things like that, for the most part I think it’s going to be business as usual for quite some time.”
“Someone told me once, when I went through the merger at Turner/Time Warner/AOL, that you really don’t notice the cultural impact of a merger or a sale for at least a year or 18 months after the fact. That’s when you start to really notice the difference, I suspect we’ll see business as usual for the next 12 months or so.”
Bischoff on the tangible benefits we’ll be seeing in the future from the sale…
“You look at the WWE business model and you look at the UFC business model, they’re two separate businesses, one is fictional storytelling, the other is sport. There are a lot of parallels within their business plan. You’ve got live events, you’ve got pay per view, streaming, ad sales, you’ve got international television rights, licensing and merchandise. You have a lot of areas that I think UFC can benefit from the maturity that the WWE has in some of those businesses.
UFC is still a relatively new business and WWE has been around for decades and decades, they really have a sophisticated business model. So I think you’re going to see a lot of benefits to UFC as a relationship to WWE.”
Bischoff on does this change anything in the wrestling landscape..
“I don’t think so. I think WWE has proven that Sports Entertainment, a.k.a professional wrestling, is indeed a viable global media phenomenon. I think that AEW is in a perfect position to take advantage of that and benefit from what WWE has done. Just like WCW did, WCW benefited tremendously from a lot of the pioneering that WWE had done, prior to WCW’s success. I think AEW is in kind of a same position.”
Bischoff on the sale being overall good or bad..
“I think it was a good move. I think it was time for the company to take that next step, what ever that next step will ultimately be. I think the combined strength of UFC and WWE, and Endeavour, look Endeavour are a powerhouse in their own right. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity born out of the fact that Endeavour is the owner of this new UFC/WWE company.
I think there’s going to be a lot of exciting things, I think it’s a great time to be in sports entertainment business, whether that be in the UFC or WWE, or AEW for that matter. I think it’s going to be an exciting time, I look forward to the next couple of years to see what develops.”