I’m breaking this down to the bare facts:
WME – the William Morris Endeavor is a Talent Agency whereas IMG- is a Global Fashion (including Top Models), Event Planning & Sports Management Company. The two merged in 2014. The leaders behind the rocket ship known as WME-IMG are co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell. If your a fan of ‘ENTOURAGE’, the character Ari Gold played by Jeremy Piven is based on Ari Emanuel.
This is what I believe WME-IMG will bring to the UFC Brand:
- Connections- WME Is one of the biggest agencies in the world.
- They have some of the highest grossing talent (directors, composers, writers, producers. Actors/Actresses) in the history of entertainment
- They have major Star Power- with top clients comes cross promotions in Film, TV, Radio, Fashion, Sports, Digital & Print media
- Power People Answer Their Phone Calls – Big Deals Get done (especially when you have friends and family in high places Ari Emanuel’s brother Rahm is the mayor of Chicago and before that he was The White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama
- They have a partnership with a Silicon Valley private equity firm – so they are on the forefront of new technology integration
- Ari & Patrick are very aggressive at taking risks
- They know EVERY ONE who is Any One
- They are masters of packaging deals from the top to the bottom
- Emanuel and Whitesell understand multi-level licensing/marketing/branding and they are always looking for more opportunities to bring in more money
- WME-IMG see the growth capacity of Asia (including India)
- China will be a huge market for business development in ever expanding and diverse markets. An example: there is the rumor that the reason Playboy stopped nudity in their magazine is because of China’s anti-pornography laws
The above are just a few reasons why WME-IMG will be more adept owners of the UFC.
One thing I am quite certain is that Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell will hire a proper sound engineer for all UFC press conferences/events and their production team will make sure top of the line microphones/speakers/equipment will be mandatory.
I see the UFC under the direction of WME-IMG being run a lot tighter and more professional from the top down. Lastly, I think they will kick the Reebok deal to the curb as soon as the contract is over.