Johnson Granted Full Ownership of Trademarked Name, “The Rock”
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO) (“TKO”), a premium sports and entertainment company, has appointed Dwayne Johnson to its Board of Directors, effective today.
Johnson, one of the most decorated WWE Superstars in company history and the most followed American man globally on social media platforms, brings decades of experience in live entertainment and sports to the Board. Through his expansive business portfolio, which includes Seven Bucks Productions, Teremana Tequila, ZOA Energy, Project Rock, and the recently combined spring football league, the United Football League (UFL), Johnson has significant experience identifying and cultivating revenue generating media rights, live events, sponsorship, licensing, and social media opportunities. The appointment of Johnson reflects TKO’s commitment to delivering long-term value and strong performance for shareholders through strategic growth initiatives across both UFC and WWE.
Vince McMahon, Executive Chairman of the Board, TKO, said: “Very few people on the planet understand the convergence of sports, entertainment, media, and business like Rock. We are proud to have him join the TKO board to help take our company to new heights.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, said: “My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and my dad, Rocky ‘Soulman’ Johnson, would’ve never thought this day would come. Which is why I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me. A table that my family helped to build. Being on the TKO Board of Directors, and taking full ownership of my name, ‘The Rock’, is not only unprecedented, but incredibly inspiring as my crazy life is coming full circle. At my core, I’m a builder who builds for and serves the people, and Ari is building something truly game changing. I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE, and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences. I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”
Ariel Emanuel, CEO, TKO, said: “I am thrilled to partner with Dwayne and welcome his immense talent to TKO’s Board. Dwayne brings an incredible track record of creating content and building globally recognized consumer brands, and he will play a key role in realizing our ambitions for TKO.”
WWE has also entered into a services and merchandising agreement with Johnson that provides for his promotional, licensing, and other services, and an intellectual property assignment agreement pursuant to which Johnson has secured ownership of the trademarked name, “The Rock”. The name is derived from his father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, who was the first Black champion in WWE history (alongside partner Tony Atlas). Johnson’s grandfather, Peter Maivia, a Samoan-American professional wrestler, was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
The addition of Johnson, as well as today’s appointment of Brad Keywell to TKO’s Board of Directors, will increase TKO’s board from 11 to 13 members.
Dwayne Johnson Background
Dwayne Johnson is a global entertainer and entrepreneur who manages a diverse and ever-expanding media and business portfolio. Johnson serves as the co-founder and CEO of Seven Bucks Companies, a multi-platform global enterprise crossing all entertainment and creative verticals with an audience-first mentality. A third-generation performer, Johnson began his WWE career in 1996 and remains one of WWE’s preeminent WWE Superstars in the organization’s history.
Johnson develops, produces, and stars in all forms of entertainment content via his production company, Seven Bucks Productions, LLC, which he co-founded in 2012. In addition to Seven Bucks Productions, LLC, Johnson has founded multiple business ventures, including Teramana Tequila, the fastest-growing tequila brand in history, and co-founded ZOA Energy, LLC, an energy drink company in partnership with Molson Coors. In 2020, Johnson co-led a consortium to acquire the XFL, a professional American football league, which re-launched in 2023 before merging with the USFL to form the UFL. Johnson also maintains several prominent brand partnerships. Alongside Under Armour, Inc., Johnson founded and developed a line of fitness apparel under the “Project Rock” brand. In 2016 and 2019, Johnson was named by TIME as one of the world’s most influential people.
A dedicated philanthropist, Johnson serves as a National Celebrity Wish Ambassador for Make-A-Wish and has been granting wishes with the organization for over 20 years. In 2008, the United States Congress and the United States Joint Leadership Commission recognized Johnson with the prestigious Horizon Award, the U.S. Congressional Award given to an individual in the private sector who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and provided opportunities for youth nationwide. Johnson graduated from the University of Miami, where he earned a football scholarship and became NCAA National Football Champions.
Johnson has been a client of Endeavor’s WME agency for nearly 13 years.
TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO) is a premium sports and entertainment company that comprises UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and WWE, an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment. Together, our organizations reach more than 1 billion TV households in approximately 170 countries, and we organize more than 350 live events year-round, attracting over one million fans. TKO is majority owned by Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EDR), a global sports and entertainment company.
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Seth Zaslow 646-558-8387