Endeavor President Mark Shapiro on WWE sponsorships: "We’re not going to over commercialize it"

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/05/17/endeavor-president-mark-shapiro-on-wwe-sponsorships-were-not-going-to-over-commercialize-it/

Endeavor President Mark Shapiro stated they don’t plan to overly commercialize WWE with the sponsorship potential of the brand.

While appearing on the Sports Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch, Shapiro was asked about sponsorship opportunities in WWE:

You want to be authentic; you want to be seamless; you want to be organic; you want to be true to your audience. So, no we’re not going to put a brand on somebody’s robe walking to the ring. Now, by the way, do UFC fighters wear Venum apparel and Project Rock shoes when they come to the Octagon? Yes, they do. Could the WWE benefit from an apparel deal as such? A shoe deal as such? Absolutely.

Shapiro noted in the interview that they won’t want to cause a shock to the WWE fan with new commercial revenue opportunities:

But we’re not going to over commercialize it, we’re not going to saturate it to the point that we cheap it out, we trick it out and you turn off the fan base. So, you have to find out what’s right in the ring, in the Octagon, you have to figure out what’s right in the arena, indoor, outdoor, you have to figure out what’s right with the fighter and the participants and you’ve got to walk before you run.

Last month, Nick Khan was a guest on the LightShed Partners Podcast and spoke about WWE being “open for business” regarding sponsorship opportunities:

We’re open for business. Ring mat, ring apron, the turnbuckles, everything that can be sold, we want to explore selling it.

Obviously, it needs to be the right product. It can’t be too distracting, but if it is the right relationship and the right company, we’re ready to go.

Historically, WWE has been averse to sponsorship placements on the ring and on its performer with few exceptions, although that mentality has shifted over the past several years. UFC has several sponsorship deals, which have drawn criticism regarding the value they present for the fighters.

Shapiro confirmed during the interview that the merged company of WWE and UFC will be called ‘TKO’ and the wife of Endeavor’s chief legal officer, Seth Krauss, came up with the name.

Richard Deitsch was a guest with John Pollock & Brandon Thurston last week discussing wrestling media and the business of WWE & AEW

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Nice to hear, but I’ll take a wait and see approach.