From going public and adding Elon Musk to its board to investing in minor league baseball and breaking records with the UFC, Endeavor has never had a year like 2021.
When Endeavor Talent Agency was born in 1995, it’s hard to imagine any of the key players thinking it would one day be involved in everything from broadcasting to bull riding to running the world’s most popular, lucrative mixed martial arts promotion.
And yet, here we are. Endeavor has been a player across multiple industries for years — especially since the original talent agency merged with rival William Morris in 2009 — but the organization has never experienced a year quite like the one it had in 2021.
Under the leadership of Executive Chairman Patrick Whitesell and CEO Ari Emanuel, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange as $EDR.
As of this writing, the stock is up over 33% year-to-date. But that’s far from the only top-line takeaway for this singular enterprise as 2021 comes to a close.
Endeavor’s 2021 Achievements & Milestones
March 30: Tesla’s Elon Musk and author/entrepreneur Fawn Weaver nominated to join board of directors ahead of IPO
April 28: Went public on NYSE as $EDR; used funds from IPO to buy out Zuffa’s other shareholders to become 100% owner of UFC
July 19: Former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns joins board of directors
Sept. 27: Announced deal to acquire sportsbook technology company OpenBet for $1.2 billion
Nov. 15: Announced Q3 revenues of $1.4 billion, $63.6 million in net income, adjusted EBITDA of $283.3 million, and updated revenue guidance of between $4.89 and $4.95 billion; reveals UFC experienced its best nine-month year-to-date period in company history
Nov. 19: Agrees to sell majority stake in scripted projects division Endeavor Content to CJ ENM for $775 million
Dec. 6: IMG acquires Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament
Dec. 8: Forms Diamond Baseball Holdings, announces agreements to acquire nine (and later 10) minor league baseball teams
The Future of Endeavor
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Endeavor’s growth in 2021 is its move into professional baseball, which is all the more notable given Major League Baseball’s current lockout. So far, five clubs are on board as part of an initial round of acquisitions, with five more due to join as the finer details are squared away.
And of course, fight fans and finance types alike will be keyed in on how the UFC will find ways to prove itself as arguably the company’s single most important profit-driver as its big-money ESPN broadcast and streaming deal nears its second anniversary in January.
At the end of the day, however, this whole operation started as a key operator in the talent and entertainment business. Across Endeavor’s ever-broadening portfolio, the ability for movies and television simply to get made in these uncertain days of COVID-19 — and for fans to pack movie theaters again — is a significant wild card when handicapping the company’s outlook for 2022.
List of Selected Endeavor Subsidiaries
- IMG (Includes Learfield and IMG Academy)
- UFC (as Zuffa LLC)
- Professional Bull Riders
- Miss Universe
- Diamond Baseball Holdings
- ELeague (partnership with Turner Broadcasting)
- Euroleague Basketball (joint venture)
- Endeavor Streaming
- 160 Over 90
- Wonderful Union
- On Location Experiences
Which Minor League Baseball Teams Does Endeavor Own?
Five clubs are confirmed as part of Endeavor’s first round of acquisitions:
- Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A East)
- Iowa Cubs (Triple-A East)
- Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A East)
- San Jose Giants (Low-A West)
- Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A East)
Though not 100% finalized, the next round is expected to include:
- Augusta GreenJackets (Low-A East)
- Gwinnett Stripers (Triple-A East)
- Mississippi Braves (Double-A South)
- Rome Braves (High-A East)
Finally, talks to acquire the Oklahoma City Dodgers (Triple-A West) were previously reported as having fallen by the wayside, but Endeavor announced that a deal was back on as of Dec. 9.