UFC president Dana White never intended for it to happen, but under the ownership of Endeavor Holdings Group, the UFC has become part of a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The UFC didn’t go public as a solo entity, but as part of the Endeavor conglomerate. Endeavor Group Holdings began trading at $24 per share when the NYSE opened on Thursday, as first reported by ESPN. White, along with Endeavor executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, were all on hand at the stock exchange when trading began.
The initial public offering began about a month after Endeavor filed an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission with its intent to begin public trading. The S-1 filing noted that Endeavor had entered into an agreement to up its ownership stake in the UFC from 50.1 percent to 100 percent.
That wasn’t much of a surprise after Endeavor revealed that the UFC combined with Professional Bull Riders (PBR) and Euroleague Basketball accounted for 20-percent of Endeavor’s 2019 revenue. The UFC was also one of the first sports leagues to resume a regular schedule of events throughout most of the pandemic.
“As challenging a year as 2020 was, it underscored the strength, creativity, and resilience of our people who mobilized time and time again in the face of overwhelming odds. We made difficult decisions but worked as a team to find creative solutions and best position the business for the future,” Emanuel said in the S-1 filing.
“As the global pandemic unfolded, we developed the protocols necessary to help our businesses safely restart operations, providing a model for other professional sports, events, and programs. UFC and PBR were two of the first sports organizations to responsibly return last spring, and we followed in the summer by hosting the WNBA’s season at IMG Academy. In the fall, we brought New York Fashion Week to life, becoming one of the first major events to resume in New York City.”