INTERNATIONAL - World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. signed new five-year agreements with USA Network and Fox Sports, deals that the company said will contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue growth.
“Monday Night Raw” will continue to air on USA Network, while Fox Sports will show “SmackDown Live” each Friday on the Fox broadcast network, WWE said in a statement Tuesday. The company didn’t disclose terms, but said revenue from key agreements including the new U.S. deals will grow from $235 million this year to $462 million in 2021.
Investors have been counting on the new pacts. Shares of Stamford, Connecticut-based WWE rallied in mid-May following reports that 21st Century Fox Inc. would pay more than $1 billion for rights to “SmackDown Live.” The company said Tuesday it expects to sign additional deals providing $80 million by 2021.
Shares of WWE surged as much as 15 percent in early trading Wednesday to $76.65. MKM Partners LLC analyst Eric Handler said the stock is on track to reach a record high in regular trading after the “bigger-than-anticipated” TV-rights deal.
He sees the deal lifting domestic TV revenue by 170 percent from its prior contracts and makes a $100 price target “look very reasonable”.