WWE is hyping up tomorrow night’s (Oct. 13) SmackDown and next Monday’s (Oct. 16) Raw as can’t miss season premiere episodes.
Plenty of wrestling fans poke fun at the company when it throws the term “season premiere” around like this, since WWE never has a season finale or an off season. And TKO Group Holdings CEO Ari Emanuel, the man who is now Vince McMahon’s boss, essentially backed up that sentiment when he spoke on Bloomberg Live about the ongoing TV rights negotiations for WWE Raw.
As per this transcription from F4WOnline, Ari said the absence of seasons in WWE is one of the features that makes its programming so valuable compared to other sports.
“You cannot undervalue the WWE and UFC for the following reasons: 1) We do not have a season. We’re 52 weeks a year and we’re flexible. You want us Thursday night? You want us Tuesday? I don’t have any of those scheduling issues. And that churn issue, because we’re the full year, is so much different from any other sport because then people turn out. That’s one of the issues with sports. Our fans are loyal. They stick around and they stay with and they move.”
Emanuel also tried to explain why TKO’s stock went down following the announcement of SmackDown’s new TV deal with NBCUniversal:
“I would say to you, there’s plenty of interest in Raw right now. I know people are like ‘Well, NBC is out of the mix’ and that’s why (the stock) went down.
I think there’s three things that happened. 1) The reason the stock is down is what (the market) thought, that Raw was the best package. I thought a 40 percent increase, which was in line with expectation, was good. 2) The PFL situation. 3) Vince, in our deal, wanted to be able to put, at any point in time, his stock.”
The pro wrestling rumor mill indicates that Wall Street was expecting more than a 40 percent increase on SmackDown’s new TV deal, so that’s why the stock dropped. But Emanuel suggests that Vince McMahon’s unconventional stock option may have also played a factor, as it was interpreted by many people as a sign that Vince is leaving WWE.
What do you make of Ari Emanuel’s comments on Raw’s TV rights and TKO’s stock drop, Cagesiders?