Rumors of the imminent deal announcement of WWE’s new TV contract sent WWE stocks up over 5% today, hitting $19.90 a piece at one point in late-day trading.
WWE is currently receiving $140 million for TV rights from NBC Universal, a figure which WWE is trying to double under a new deal. However according to several analysts it will be near impossible for WWE to get double and some industry insiders today are reporting that sources close to the negotiations say that the new deal – also with NBC Universal – is only increasing by a few million. This is nowhere near WWE’s expectations and the company was being very bullish about what they could get from a new deal.
WWE was banking on its lucrative television shows in hoping to get more money similar to what other sports leagues such as the NFL, NHL, MLS, and others get for their TV rights. While WWE does pretty good ratings in the important 18-34 demographic, advertisers pay much less to advertise during a wrestling show versus let’s say a football game. Under the current deal, WWE gets no money from advertising and everything goes to NBC Universal.
WWE broke off talks with NBC Universal in February and started negotiating with other television networks after NBCU and WWE did not come to an agreement. NBCU still has the right to match any offer WWE gets to keep the programming on its properties.