Prime secures WWE first in new canvas branding direction under TKO

(Credit: WWE)
(Credit: WWE)

Prime has announced a major new sponsorship with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) that sees the hydration drink brand become the first ever to have its logo on the wrestling ring canvas.

The company has become WWE’s ‘Official Hydration Drink Partner’ and will receive a suite of assets including its logo in the centre of the WWE ring at premium live events such as WrestleMania and Money In The Bank.

The decision to unlock the WWE canvas as a top-tier sponsorship asset illustrates the shift in commercial strategy following the creation of Endeavor-owned TKO Group Holdings, formed from the merger between WWE and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

For many years, WWE founder Vince McMahon rejected the idea of canvas branding, which was first seen at a rival World Championship Wrestling event in 1998, with chocolate bar Snickers featured in the ring.

Endeavor acquired UFC in 2016, and a core part of the mixed martial arts property’s commercial strategy is selling sponsorships covering its Octagon ring canvas. In its 2023 full-year financial report, UFC’s revenue increased 13 per cent to $1.3bn (€1.2bn), which included sponsorship revenue rises of 18 per cent.

It would appear TKO has now brought that strategy to WWE, which Endeavor acquired in April 2023 for $9.3bn and then merged with UFC last May. WWE has reported revenue for the 2023 financial year up 47 per cent to $1.7bn.

Reports have also suggested WWE is looking to create further sponsorships assets including LED advertising on the ring apron surround and more ringside signage.

As well as canvas branding, Prime will have premium signage assets at other WWE events including Wrestlemania XL and Survivor Series, individual match sponsorships, co-presenter designations and product activations at live events, as well as digital marketing rights including promotional support from WWE stars. Prime co-owner Logan Paul is also a WWE athlete.

The deal sees Prime become the first brand to have sponsorship agreements across both WWE and UFC. Prime became ‘Official Global Sports Drink’ of UFC in February 2023.

WWE chief content officer Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque said: “What Logan and his team have built in a short time is phenomenal and we’re excited to help showcase Prime Hydration across our biggest events.”

Paul said: “We’ve worked incredibly hard at Prime to build a brand that disrupts the beverage industry and it’s time to join forces with the global leader in sports entertainment. Thank you to everyone on both sides who have played an important role in bringing Prime Hydration to the ring.”

Prime’s sponsorship deal comes two months after the WWE announced a near-$5.2bn global media rights deal for WWE Raw with Netflix.