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Fox Sports Execs Attend 'SmackDown Live'; Here's Why That's Good News For WWE

Fox Sports Execs Attend 'SmackDown Live'; Here's Why That's Good News For WWE

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) stock jumped about 4 percent Wednesday after some VIPs were among the audience members at Tuesday night’s taping of “SmackDown Live.”

What Happened

According to a tweet by Sports Illustrated reporter Richard Deitsch, some high-level executives from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ: FOXA) attended last night’s taping.

The appearance appears to be fueling the rumor mill that WWE programming could potentially be the target of a bidding war involving New Fox following the completion of the Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) buyout of much of Fox’s entertainment assets.

Why It’s Important

In January, Variety reported that the new Fox would be the “perfect potential home” for WWE programming. Fox already airs UFC programming on its Fox, Fox Sports 1 and FXX stations.

In addition to Comcast Corporaiton (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Fox, Variety reported streaming video disruptors, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) are also likely interested in WWE TV rights.

Fox or another major media company could even potentially be interested in an outright buyout of WWE. In January, WWE executive vice president of talent Paul “Triple H” Levesque indicated the company is open to potential buyout offers.

What’s Next

The most likely scenario at this point, however, is that WWE shareholders reap the benefits of an increasingly content-hungry media landscape when the company’s current TV contract with Comcast expires at the end of the year.

"After digging into the math behind the upcoming TV licensing deals, we still think there's plenty of potential upside from here," Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker said in January.

At time of publication, WWE's stock traded around $38.24 per share.

Related Links:

25 Biggest Moments In WWE's Wall Street History 

WWE Is Still A Heavyweight; KeyBanc Upgrades Stock Ahead Of TV Renewal Cycle


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