World Wresting owner TKO Group Holdings Inc. fell as much as 16% in New York Thursday after a new deal to broadcast its matches on the USA Network disappointed some investors.
(Bloomberg) — World Wresting owner TKO Group Holdings Inc. fell as much as 16% in New York Thursday after a new deal to broadcast its matches on the USA Network disappointed some investors.
Shares of TKO Group, which resulted from the merger of WWE with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, slumped as low as $84.83. Its controlling stockholder, Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., lost as much as 12%.
The agreement marks the end of the run at Fox Corp., which had been televising the SmackDown show since 2019. Fox’s decision to not aggressively pursue a renewal of the deal shows media companies are taking a more measured approach to costly sports rights, Bloomberg Intelligence said.
“The new deal is estimated to be 40% higher vs. the prior one, slightly lower than the 50%-70% hikes seen in recent renewals,” analyst Geetha Ranganathan wrote on Thursday.
CNBC put the value of the new deal at $287 million a year, or more than $1.4 billion, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
TKO’s deal with Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal runs for five years. USA Network is essentially swapping its WWE programming. Its rights to air WWE’s Monday Night Raw and WWE NXT expire next September and the network doesn’t expect to renew them.
USA will begin showing the SmackDown matches in October 2024, the companies said in a statement.
As part of the deal, WWE will produce four prime-time specials a year that will air on NBC.
Earlier this month, UFC owner Endeavor Group completed its takeover of WWE, putting two of the world’s most popular combat sports into one, publicly traded entity. The shares began trading Thursday without the rights to a $3.86 a share dividend.
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