WWE announced yesterday that the Board of Directors’ investigation into Vince McMahon’s alleged hush money payments is complete. The investigation cost the company around 20 million dollars, but other than that, it’s hard to imagine a better outcome for WWE business than the way things stand today.
As Vince McMahon aged in recent years, there was significant concern that WWE’s stock would take a huge hit if he ever stepped down as CEO, because Vince was the main driver behind WWE’s decades of success. It turns out all of that gloom and doom about the impact on WWE’s stock was for naught.
WWE is idiot proof right now from a financial standpoint. That’s been the case for several years, and it will continue to be the case as long as the television rights fees for Raw and SmackDown remain at such a high level and the wrestlers continue to receive such a small portion of the company revenue.
Just to remind you about the sheer magnitude of these numbers, the two separate TV deals that WWE signed with NBCU and FOX in 2018 guaranteed the company a total of 2.35 billion dollars from 2019 through 2024. Nick Khan was a key player in those negotiations, and he’s now co-CEO and running the business side of things.
All of that TV money from NBCU and FOX is guaranteed, so there wasn’t much reason for the business world to panic when Vince resigned in disgrace in July. Here we are a few months later, and it’s clear that WWE is thriving without McMahon leading the way. WWE’s most important figure was replaceable after all.
Vince’s out-of-touch and tired creative vision for WWE is gone. Triple H’s creative process and talent signings have gone a long way towards restoring the goodwill that Vince drained out of the WWE fan base and wrestlers for so many years. When you combine the momentum on the creative side with WWE’s strong financial position, things haven’t looked this promising for WWE in quite some time.
It’s strange that Vince’s resignation and the investigation into his alleged misconduct didn’t have more staying power as a story. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the WWE Board of Directors’ investigation was primarily focused on the financial trail that Vince left behind. Vince may have never been forced to step down if it weren’t for the financial mistakes he made, because it can still be a cruel world where the human cost of his alleged misconduct is easily overlooked and dismissed.
Perhaps investigations from other outlets are still digging into the matter to find out who knew what, when they knew it, and how they responded to it, among other things. But right now WWE is in a much better position than it was just a few months ago, and that’s primarily because the company is no longer under the thumb of Vince McMahon.