WWE stock initially slipped on the Monday morning news that streaming service WWE Network is folding into NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
Within the first 10 minutes of the regular stock-trading day, WWE shares declined about 3%. The U.S. stock markets opened at 9:30 a.m. ET.
While financial terms of the deal were not officially disclosed, two people with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap the span is five years and worth in the ballpark of $1 billion.
Shares in WWE closed the normal trading day Friday at $55.52 per share, an increase of nearly 6% from Thursday. In after-hours trading, it ticked up another 13 cents. The company’s market cap was $4.32 billion.
The stock flirted with $100 per share in Spring 2019. Like so many companies that rely on live-event revenue, the coronavirus pandemic has provided serious financial and operating challenges for the world’s leading professional wrestling (“sports entertainment,” in Chairman Vince McMahon’s words) organization.
Earlier this month, WWE announced its plans for the next three WrestleManias.
Under the terms of the multiyear deal, the WWE Network programming will become part of Peacock’s “Premium” tier, which includes ads and costs $4.99 per month. It will also be part of Peacock’s Premium Plus tier, which costs $9.99 and is commercial-free.
Membership will include all pay-per-view events (yes, including “WrestleMania”) beginning with March 21’s “Fastlane.” Either way is a good deal for wrestling fans: WWE Network had cost $9.99 itself.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In the third quarter of 2020, WWE Network averaged 1.6 million monthly paid subscribers. Last month, NBCU CEO Jeff Shell said Peacock had passed 26 million sign-ups. Those are not all paid, however. Comcast has projected Peacock will have up to 35 million subscribers by the end of 2024.
When WWE Network rolls into Peacock, it will bring more than 17,000 hours of new, original and library content in both an on-demand and 24-7-programmed channel. Peacock itself boasts more than 47,000 hours of programming.
Peacock is available on Roku, Apple devices, Google (Android and Chromecast), Xbox and PlayStation, and Vizio and LG smart TVs. Certain Comcast and Cox customers get Peacock Premium included for free. (Comcast is the parent company of NBCU.)