Is WWE Worth Nine Billion Dollars…
Per the internet and what people back in my day would call “dirtsheets”, Vince McMahon wants Nine Billion Dollars (I’m writing it out like that to ensure you read every fucking letter of that statement and swallow that amount of money) for the WWE.
Now, he’s well within his rights to want Nine Billion Dollars, especially if properties like the UFC were sold for a lower price with less legacy, back catalog, merchandising opportunities, and annual television deals in the billions of dollars.
But we have to look at the broader picture to better understand.
Is Vince McMahon pricing out any other bidders than who he wants?
Perfectly fair question to be honest, isn’t it?
With his evil villain coming hard in the third act reveal, and having said less than six months ago that he would stay away from the business, everyone can just assume he is looking to either cash out HUGE or set everything on fire and bring it all the fuck down. He’s a lot smarter than you might think.
This is all conjecture, btw. So if you’re wagering anything on this and you get mad that Vince never sells or doesn’t sell to the two places he may sell to, that’s on you, don’t come looking for me.
One thing’s true: for Vince to come back and prepare the land, seems pretty damn obvious to me that he already has a bidder.
Then Ariel Helwani threw cold water all over that with his sources, which are helpful to have when you work with the content partner of the network that signed you to cover that content.
Contrary to reports stating otherwise last night, there is no deal in place at this precise moment for WWE to be sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund or any entity, sources say.
The organization is still exploring all options, I’m told. Developing.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 11, 2023
But… with the price tag associated (Nine Billion Dollars) and the fact that Vince may still want to stay in power, everything is uncertain.
Are the Saudis buying the WWE?
With the asking price being what it is, coupled with corporate belt-tightening the last few years, I can’t think of someone with that amount of money laying around for sports/entertainment investments.
Having LIV Golf, random boxing events dating back to Joshua-Ruiz II, the search for more cash, and their long-standing relationship with the WWE, it’s not hard to think that this would be a layup purchase for Mohammed bin Salman and Co.
But when you look at the fact that it is a public company, they will be dealing with a lot more scrutiny and possible governmental blowback for this.
Also, television rights are coming up soon. If you’re a network partner and you see this move, do you walk away from some of your highest-rated programming to make a moral point?
FWIW sources have expressed skepticism that many traditional media companies will buy the WWE.
But there are definitely some interested parties (like Endeavor the Middle Eastern $$).
— Lucas Shaw (@Lucas_Shaw) February 17, 2023
We’ve seen LIV Golf deal with that issue from its inception, finally landing on The CW Network, but it being a rights deal as opposed to a more than likely barter deal makes a lot of people pause when saying a Saudi owned WWE could get the appearance of the deals given to the prior administration.
It’s fair to assume that the WWE’s infrastructure could lend itself to doing an ad-driven network of some type alongside subscriptions, but the deficit in income would decimate the WWE’s bottom line.
Does Vince McMahon give a damn?
You want to say yes. Because, it’s his families’ legacy dating back to the 19th century and he takes his father’s accomplishments very seriously.
Yet again, Nine Billion Dollars…
After the year he’s had, Vince may decide to become his own meme and inject the WWE with a lethal dose of poison. But instead of it being Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan, it’s him getting nearly 11 figures and saying “Fuck you.”
Which would seemingly be on-brand for a dude who’s allegedly done a whole lot of not so cool, awful, fucked up things.
Get to the fucking point – Sell or No Sell?
Well, it’s Comcast/NBC Universal.
Airing WWE Programming on their family of networks since 1982, NBC Universal features two of the three WWE weekly programs (RAW/NXT) and have the exclusive rights to the WWE Network in the United States, titling up about $2 billion dollars in annual business.
That plus being the two leading programs on the USA Network, a network that’s become a repository bucket for other shows and reality projects starring people in Federal Prison.
It becomes a cost savings measure if not profitable by year three, and with the synergy to create more shoulder programming like Total Divas, or NBC needing to fill time because of poorly performing sitcoms, you have the chance to create a bigger brand proposition.
Also NXT can move to Universal Studios and generate money as a theme park experience, something the WWE’s programming already gets a strong presence marketing-wise.
Can you answer our thesis question once and for all?
If you’re NBC Universal, I’ve listed why above and if you’re MbS and Co. you already know that value and profit are not the major factors here, so you can swallow that pill and not really care.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments or by yelling at us on Twitter at @BetUS_Official and @MattRyanYells.
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