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World Wrestling Rides on Alliances, Extends Deal With J SPORTS

Zacks Equity Research

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. WWE is extending its existing partnership with J SPORTS into its 22nd year with a new deal to broadcast flagship shows, Raw and SmackDown, live in Japan. Notably, J SPORTS plans, produces, and broadcasts wide-range of domestic and overseas sports programs.

J SPORTS 4 will air Raw beginning Tuesday, Jan 1, 2019, and SmackDown on Wednesday, both live at 10 a.m. JST. In addition, J SPORTS 3 will air a one-hour version of Raw starting on Jan 7, 2018, at 10 p.m. on Mondays and a one-hour version of SmackDown at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays. Also, fans can demand all of WWE’s monthly specials including WrestleMania, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and SummerSlam on J SPORTS as per request with subtitles.

WWE’s flagship shows Raw and SmackDown along with all of WWE’s live monthly events, comprising WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and Royal Rumble will be continued to available in New Zealand. The company will extend its existing partnership with SKY into its 19th year to continue broadcasting WWE programming.

These apart, WWE announced multi-year deals with Fox Sports and USA Network for its flagship programs, effective Oct 1, 2019. Per the agreements, USA Network will continue to air Raw, while SmackDown will be broadcasted on Fridays on the Fox broadcast network. Per management, these agreements will improve the average annual value of WWE’s U.S. distribution to 3.6 times of the contract with NBC Universal. Earlier, management had stated that these agreements will likely bump up revenues from $311 million in 2019 to $462 million in 2021.

Going ahead into 2019, WWE expects adjusted OIBDA of minimum $200 million, assuming substantial revenue growth. The company’s focus on increasing original content, subscriber growth, rise in TV rights fees and monetization of video content across digital and direct-to-consumer platforms bodes well for the stock.



In a month, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained roughly 17% against its industry’s 3.1% decline.

Moreover, WWE has been implementing strategies including the development of fresh content, execution of customer acquisition and retention programs, increase in distribution platform, the introduction of new features and foraying into new regions. Such efforts are likely to boost WWE Network’s revenues. However, any fall in ticket sales during live events, lower number of live events, rising costs at WWE Network and stiff competition from other entertainment platforms may hurt profitability.

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