2019 is continuing to be a tumultuous year for the WWE. Smackdown Live moved to its new home on Fox, which is WWE's first time on airing their episodic show on network television. Vince McMahon is close to the company's second show in Saudi Arabia, Crown Jewel. The XFL is closing in on their re-debut in 2020. WWE's flagship show, Monday Night Raw is in their first full year of a new multi-year deal with the USA Network. Despite all the advancements in business, World Wrestling Entertainment is still looking at negative connotations when it comes to their product.
In a new report by CNN, investors are reportedly concerned about WWE's stock and how that correlates with the declining ratings WWE TV is producing on a weekly basis.
Some investors are concerned that we've reached peak WWE. Fox's first broadcast of SmackDown on Friday nights brought in solid ratings earlier this month. But viewership has tumbled in the weeks since then, which could be a concern.
Brandon Ross, a media analyst with LightShed Capital, told CNN the decline in ratings sheds light on fan interest, which is, "going in the wrong direction."
WWE's ratings are a concern, despite seeing a viewership boost on Monday Night Raw for the October 22 edition of Raw. Although, it was only a 2.76% increase from October 15th. Monday's show only averaged approximately 2.287 million viewers. Producers showcased newly-acquired Cain Velasquez and WWE Universal champion Seth Rollins, which clearly proved to help slightly. However, it is not helping the show every week, which should be the goal for WWE.
When viewing the WWE stock, their closing figure was $66.62 a share. Looking back at their number in September, the WWE closed at $71 per share. The startling number comes when calculating their year-to-date mark, which was $79.73. If one were to compare the stock price from one year ago to the ratings at that time, the WWE posted an average of 2.373 million viewers for the October 15, 2018 episode of Raw. To put it into perspective, WWE's flagship show drew 2.688 million viewers in October of 2017.
WWE's huge TV deal with Fox, as well as their 10-year contract with Saudi Arabia, means the company is doing something right. Wrestling Inc published a story in July of this year talking about the stock improvement at that time, despite revenue, ratings, attendance and merchandise all taking a dip.
Is CNN accurate with their report? That remains to be seen. With the recent negativity surrounding the product, and the debut of All Elite Wrestling, there should definitely be cause for concern.