WWE just laid the smackdown on the New York Stock Exchange: Shares in Vince McMahon’s publicly traded pro-wrestling promotion have soared nearly 15 percent today, or more than $7 apiece.
The instantaneous upward mobility comes about as a result of a mega-deal with Fox Sports, first reported by TheWrap, for the TV rights to its weekly “SmackDown” show in what an individual close to the talks said would be a five-year deal worth as much as $1 billion.
The popular series, which currently airs on USA Network, will move to Fox’s broadcast channel in Fall 2019. The over-the-air network will shift the show from Tuesday to Friday.
Here’s a snapshot of Monday’s movement:
Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal and thus USA Network, will maintain the WWE’s Monday series “Raw.”
The pricey rights to the two most popular weekly professional wrestling shows have been on the auctioneer’s block for a few months now. Simultaneously, those platforms interested in live sporting events and a young male demo have also been bidding on UFC packages.
Next year won’t mark “SmackDown’s” first time on broadcast — the 19-year-old show used to air on UPN, then The CW, then MyNetworkTV, before heading to NBCUniversal’s Syfy and, ultimately, USA.
WWE Superstar Shakeup 2018: 42 Wrestlers You'll Now Only See on 'SmackDown Live' (Photos)
You won’t see any of these guys and girls on “Raw” anymore
We all just lived through another WWE Superstar Shakeup, and if your head is still spinning, we're here to help: TheWrap has tracked down where all 96 main roster wrestlers now work.
In our tallies, we only counted regular in-ring wrestlers, so no managers or agents or wives or escorts, etc. -- even if they step between the ropes once or twice a year. Though we listed the obvious and current stables and tag teams together, we added up wrestlers individually.
Readers can check out our "Raw" gallery here.