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August 5, 2020

Nick Khan Heading From CAA To WWE In Powerhouse Move

Nick Khan, the powerful CAA agent, is leaving the agency to take a senior role at WWE. CAA’s former co-head of television has been named President & Chief Revenue Officer of WWE, reporting directly to Chair & CEO Vince McMahon. Khan replaces WWE’s former co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, who left the company in January. A formal announcement will be made later today.

Khan joins the WWE at a time when its business is challenged: Ratings are soft and the pandemic restrictions have brought its live events business to a standstill. In a phone interview, Khan did not talk about specific plans he has for the job. “The first thing I want to do is figure out where the bathrooms are,” he joked. “We all have a lot of ideas in our head. It might be a little premature to share them in terms of when we are going to execute those.”

Khan joined CAA in '12 and quickly became one of the most powerful talent agents in the business, representing on-air personalities like Kirk Herbstreit, Colin Cowherd, Mike Greenberg and Jalen Rose. CAA agents Matt Kramer and Tom Young will take on new roles as co-heads of the agency’s sports broadcasting division. In his CAA role, Khan also represented organizations like WWE, SEC and Top Rank Boxing in their media-rights deals. It was his work in securing WWE’s most recent deals with Fox and USA Network that opened McMahon’s eyes to the possibility of hiring Khan. “While representing WWE at CAA, he was instrumental in transforming our business model by securing domestic media rights increases of 3.6x over our previous agreements,” McMahon said in a prepared statement.

Khan referred to WWE as a “family business” that made him feel comfortable. He referenced a small 50th birthday party he and his wife, IVETTE, were invited to at Paul “Triple H” Levesque’s house last summer. “We looked around the room and said, ‘It’s really kind of them to consider us friends,’” he said. “For a family-run business -- albeit a publicly traded one -- it just felt right. At that moment, I started thinking, ‘I wonder if there’s something bigger and better to do with them.’”

At the age of 45, after spending 13 years as an agent, Khan already had been thinking about the next chapter of his career. “There had been interesting opportunities other than being an agent that had come my way over the last few years,” he said. “I never really contemplated any of them seriously. When this opportunity emerged, it seemed like a no-brainer.”

By all accounts, Khan leaves CAA on good terms. Khan said that CAA’s management has been gracious and supportive. In a quote emailed to THE DAILY, CAA board member and co-Head of CAA Sports Michael Levine agreed. He stated, “Nick is a proven leader, savvy business strategist and exceptional team builder. From helping grow our sports broadcasting group into an industry leader to his collaborative contributions across the entire agency, Nick has made a tremendous and everlasting impact.”

One of Khan’s clients, ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, also reached out to say that the former agent changed the nature of representation in the sports broadcasting space. “His understanding of its landscape is peerless and often exceeded by his vision of where the business is moving at any given moment,” Rinaldi said, “He just sees things other don’t and is in perfect position when they happen. His relationships are unmatched, period. And they’ve been built on trust, truth and loyalty. I was never just a client. Ever. And he’s never been simply an agent. He’s a friend I love.”

source: sports business daily


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