UFC is slowly becoming one of the most profitable and biggest sports brands in the United States. As a result, investors are jumping in line to buy a stake in the sports company and brand.
Back in July, WME-IMG acquired UFC for $4 billion dollars. What many didn’t know at the time is that when WME-IMG purchased UFC, nearly two dozen celebrities became part owners of the sports company.
The list of celebrities, athletes, musicians, movie stars, and more is jam-packed: The Weekend, Adam Levine, Anthony Kiedis, Ben Affleck, Calvin Harris, Cam Newton, Conan O’Brien, Flea, Guy Fieri, Jimmy Kimmel, Li Na, LL COOL J, Maria Sharapova, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Rob Dyrdek, Robert Kraft, Serena Williams, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Brady, Trey Parker, Tyler Perry and Venus Williams.
Here is the complete list of celebrities who bought a stake in UFC. Among them: LL Cool J, The Weeknd, Rob Dyrdek. pic.twitter.com/HIyUVm39Qx
— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) September 30, 2016
Serena Williams? Cam Newton? TOM BRADY!? It’s incredible to see such big athletes jump in on the opportunity to support the growth of another sport at the same time as helping make their own sport bigger.
On the Hollywood side, Conan O’Brien, Ben Affleck, and Sylvester Stallone stick out. Music-wise, it’s interesting to see different names and styles like The Weeknd, Adam Levine, and Calvin Harris on this list.
“Expanding our ownership group to include this caliber of talent and entrepreneurs is a strong indicator of UFC’s fast-growing global presence,” UFC president Dana White said in a statement released by the company on Friday. “Our new investors bring an incredible depth of knowledge and experience to help us continue to elevate this brand and capitalize on its entertainment and sports crossover appeal.”
The investment made by each of these athletes, musicians, actors, and more isn’t too big compared to what they probably earn annually either.
In buying the UFC, WME-IMG let celebrities buy small shares with a minimum investment of $250,000. Here's the list pic.twitter.com/3whha8eOPe
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 30, 2016
The Wall Street Journal pointed out a key reason why these celebrities were given the opportunity to invest in the sport. According to WME-IMG co-CEO Ari Emanuel, who worked on securing the investments, the celebrity investors were some of the biggest fans of the sport and “would always ask for tickets.”
It’ll be interesting to see what type of cross promotion begins to emerge due to these investments. Will Jimmy Kimmel host a show from a UFC event? Will Adam Levine perform a concert during a future UFC event? Will Tom Brady eventually become a UFC FIGHTER!?!?
No, he won’t. But Jets fans can dream…