WWE signed new five-year television licensing deals in June this year to the tune of $1 billion apiece for Raw and SmackDown Live. The new television deals won’t start until 2019, but WWE has “been on a tear” in other respects as well.
WWE Co-President George Barrios recently spoke to Closing Bell where he discussed World Wrestling Entertainment’s success and continued growth. The company’s shares have skyrocketed 290% in the past year with second-quarter earnings showing a 31% increase in revenues to $281.6 million which is an all-time high for the company.
“We’ve been on a tear for a while executing our digital strategy, our direct-to-consumer strategy, growing the global business,” Barrios said. “But certainly the deals we signed with Fox and with USA that we announced about a month ago have been transformational for us.”
Raw will remain on USA Network as part of the new television contracts, but SmackDown Live will find a new home Fridays on Fox starting in October 2019.
Barrios continued saying, “we’ve been at it for 10 years […] We decided to err on going all in. At the end of the day we set the strategy, put the resources in place, worked like crazy, and that’s where we are today.”
WWE currently has 900 million social media followers with the second-most subscribed to channel on YouTube. The new television contracts will increase the average annual value of WWE’s US distribution by 3.6 times from their previous television deal with USA Network. This could result in Raw and SmackDown Live’s revenue going from $270 million to $600 million in three years.