WWE shares on Thursday "fell after the company clinched an agreement with NBCUniversal to bring its popular wrestling shows, Raw and Smackdown, back to the NBC family," according to Chris Ciaccia of THE STREET. "Raw" goes "back to the USA Network," while "Smackdown" will run on Syfy. WWE expects that it will "potentially double or triple" its '12 OIBDA to a range of $125-190M by '15 (THESTREET.com, 5/15). VARIETY's Marc Graser cited analysts as saying that WWE "has been able to double the licensing fees for its shows." The company in '13 earned $160.9M "from broadcast rights around the world," and $139.5M in '12. However, WWE in a statement "significantly downplayed the final figure." Lawyers "have been working out windowing terms of when episodes would be available on mobile platforms like tablets and smartphones, as well as when they could be rebroadcast on the WWE Network, an all-digital streaming service the company launched in February." WWE "has been shopping for a new deal for its TV shows since January, and has sought to capitalize on the kind of coin live sports and events programming are commanding since they are considered DVR-proof and generate strong ratings." Deals for WWE’s series previously have been "brokered individually on a staggered timeline, usually every three to four years." But WWE "is making all of its shows available through new licensing deals at once" (VARIETY.com, 5/15). At presstime, shares of WWE were trading at $11.36 per share, down 43% from the close of business yesterday (THE DAILY).
FOR BETTER OR WORSE? BROADCASTING & CABLE's Jessika Walsten noted NBCU's WWE contract "was set to expire in October but the cabler's negotiating window ended in February, sparking speculation that the WWE was shopping its franchises to other distributors" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 5/15). PHILLY.com's Vaughn Johnson notes after "testing the waters elsewhere, the WWE decided to keeps its television rights where they currently lie." We "don’t know if WWE made off financially as well as it had hoped when its previous deal with NBCUniversal expired." What also "isn’t known is if the structure to how WWE currently presents its product will change" (PHILLY.com, 5/15).
The Blackhawks and WGN on Thursday announced a three-year extension of their TV rights deal through the conclusion of the '18-19 NHL season. The current agreement was not set to expire for two more years. The Chicago-based network has been one of the Blackhawks' TV rights holders since the start of the '08-09 season. WGN under the new deal will air 20 games each regular season. Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk will continue as the game broadcasters (Blackhawks). Tribune President of Broadcast Media Larry Wert said that while Blackhawks’ games “do not air” on WGN America, negotiations are “underway to expand the broadcasts into adjacent markets through affiliates” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/16). In Chicago, Danny Ecker noted the extension “also aligns the expiration dates of broadcast contracts the Hawks have with WGN-TV and Comcast SportsNet Chicago” (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 5/15).
ESPN’s telecast of Saturday’s Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola World Heavyweight Championship averaged 940,000 viewers, making it the most-watched boxing match on any ESPN network since Aug. 4, 2006, when the Jose Soto-Anthony Peterson bout averaged 1.01 million viewers on ESPN2….YES Network averaged a 4.54 local rating in N.Y. for Monday’s Mets-Yankees game, its most-viewed telecast of the season. It also was the most-viewed and highest-rated Subway Series game on a N.Y. RSN since July 3, 2011 (THE DAILY).
The charts below list final ratings from recent sports telecasts. Figures for ABC were unavailable at presstime.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: 5-Hour Energy 400 (Kansas)
NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals: Heat-Nets: Game 3
PGA Tour: The Players Championship: Final Round*
PGA Tour: The Players Championship: Third Round
Pro Bull Riding: Last Cowboy Standing
Liga MX: Santos Laguna-Pachuca
EPL: Manchester City-West Ham United
Major League Fishing: Challenge Cup Championships
"EPL Goal Zone"
NFL Draft: Round 1
NBA Western Conference Semifinals: Clippers-Thunder: Game 2
NBA Western Conference Semifinals: Clippers-Thunder: Game 1
NBA Western Conference Semifinals: Thunder-Clippers: Game 3
NBA Western Conference Semifinals: Spurs-Trail Blazers: Game 1
NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals: Pacers-Wizards: Game 4
NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals: Heat-Nets: Game 1
NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals: Wizards-Pacers: Game 2
NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals: Wizards-Pacers: Game 1
NBA Western Conference Semifinals: Spurs-Trail Blazers: Game 2
NOTE: * = The Players Championship had a 90-minute rain delay during the final round.