As Endeavor continues to expand its reach as a full-service, multimedia conglomerate, it is promoting Mark Shapiro to president. Shapiro has been a key executive at the company ever since Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell’s WME acquired IMG in a $2.3 billion deal back in 2013 and began a massive transformation that saw the pair’s traditional Hollywood talent agency expand into a global entertainment, sports, and events behemoth.
Since then, Endeavor has acquired over 25 companies, including UFC, the Frieze art fairs, Eleague, and Professional Bull Riding. The company has also launched new businesses like Endeavor Content, which finances, sells, and develops film and TV projects, and Endeavor Audio, a full-service podcast studio.
As chief content officer of IMG and then co-president of WME-IMG (as the company was called before it became Endeavor), Shapiro has been focused on developing content strategies for the company’s myriad brands, as well as striking brand and sponsorship deals. As he told Fast Company in 2016 for a feature profile of the company, “We’re in the emotion transportation business. Our job is to move people.”
Discussing UFC, which Endeavor bought for $4 billion in 2016, he said:
Content and business is what I’m looking at. From a marketing perspective, how are we marketing the events to grow our Pay Per View business, to grow Fight Pass [UFC’s OTT service], to bring more attendance to every one of these cities? Whether it’s being staged in Cleveland for the first time like it was this year, or it’s in its usual home of Las Vegas. Then just content. How can we make the telecast better? How can we work with Fox or whomever our partner is to make the telecast better? How can we make our telecast on Fight Pass better? How can we make Fight Pass as a whole better with the programming we can offer around the fights themselves? In totality, we’re looking at the content on both linear and an OTT basis.
Shapiro has also been responsible for unifying IMG’s fashion business; securing a U.S. media rights deal with ESPN for the UFC; developing new formats for IMG’s events portfolio (including the upcoming debut of Frieze LA); and boosting the company’s global marketing business with key acquisitions.
In a statement Emanuel said, “The past four years have marked Endeavor’s most pivotal stage of growth, and Mark has played a critical role in getting us to where we are today. Mark’s leadership, creativity, and drive will help Patrick and me as we continue to scale Endeavor and realize its full potential.”
Speaking at Mipcom in Cannes in October, Emanuel echoed this, saying that with the entertainment industry in flux with a series of mergers and acquisitions, he sees an opportunity for Endeavor. “There’s more acquisitions we want to make,” he said. “With Disney, Comcast, and AT&T having to take 18 months to absorb those acquisitions, we see a pretty robust road map if we were to make some more acquisitions that are interesting to us. We’re looking at stuff right now.”