The WWE is about to cash in big time on TV deals for "Raw" and "Smackdown."
1. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Monday Night Raw will remain on USA Network while SmackDown Live, which airs Tuesdays, is headed for a new broadcast home. There had been much speculation about FOX Sports picking up both shows, but Vince McMahon has managed to get NBC Universal, which owns USA, to renew its deal for Raw for as much as three times its current value, according to THR.
This is somewhat stunning for a few reasons: Monday Night Raw ratings are good, but nowhere near what they used to be. (This week's episode averaged 2.9 million viewers from 8 to 9 p.m., 2.7 million viewers from 9 to 10 p.m. and 2.6 million viewers from 10 to 11 p.m.) Most hardcore fans haven't been happy with its overall television product for a while, but clearly that is irrelevant when it comes to what WWE brings a network in terms of viewers, advertisers and volume of content. Lastly, in this day and age of cord cutting snagging three times more for a television contract is impressive.
The result of the TV deal news: WWE stock is up nearly 15 percent as of this writing.
During its quarterly report a couple of weeks ago, WWE also anounced its network's paid subscribers, who pay $10 a month, rose five percent to 1.56 million. When Vince decided to create the WWE Network in 2014 most people thought he was nuts to give up all that pay-per-view money. (If you subscribe to the network, you automatically get every pay-per-view as part of your $10-a-month deal).
The bottom line is the WWE prints money and has done so for a very long time. Love him or hate, when it comes to business, few have done it better than Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
2. This week's SI Media Podcast is a must-listen for anyone who has ever placed a sports bet or anyone who is interested in Monday's Supreme Court ruling that made sports betting legal in the United States. The guests are ESPN's Scott Van Pelt, who talks about how the ruling will affect sports media as well as teams and leagues, and legendary brodcaster Brent Musburger, who now hosts a radio show on SiriusXM's VSiN channel. Brent discusess how this ruling affects Vegas, bookies and potential point-shaving scandals. He also gives us a taste of how his vintage, "YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE" line would go now that sports betting is legal. You can listen below or download the podcast on iTunes.
3. The Laurel-Yanni thing should've officially ended last night with this phenomenal tweet from actress Marlee Matlin.
Yanni or Laurel? Don't ask me. I can't hear sh*t— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) May 17, 2018
But even during the Laurel-Yanni nonsense, Charles Barkley stays on brand. He didn't hear either word. He heard "donut." Seriously.
4. I guess when you appear on 500 shows in one day to promote a book you sometimes struggled with the names of the people who interview you.
5. HBO announced today that the Cleveland Browns will be the team featured on this year's Hard Knocks. Of course, people on Twitter had jokes.
#Browns Hard Knocks:— Dave @ BIGPLAY (@BIGPLAYdaveymac) May 17, 2018
-Baker Mayfield Beats Tyrod Taylor in a dance off which divides locker room
-Antonio Callaway steals Josh Gordon’s credit card info to buy weed gummies
-League suspends Josh Gordon for purchase of gummies
-Jarvis Landry live tweets it all
This year’s Hard Knocks will feature the Cleveland Browns. Finally the world will get a firsthand glimpse of how NOT to run a football organization.— Fake SportsCenter (@FakeSportsCentr) May 17, 2018
As if 16 weeks a year wasn’t harmful enough for Browns fans. Now they have to watch 5 more weeks of shitty football on HBO’s Hard Knocks...it’s truly sickening.— Andy Ruther (@AndyRuther) May 17, 2018
6. Mike Francesa announced yesterday that he will soon "officially" join Twitter. Naturally, we need to remember the time he said athletes tweeting "should be against the law" and proclaimed that he "would nevah be on Twittah."
7. RANDOM SPORTS BETTING VIDEO OF THE DAY: During the SI Media Podcast, Van Pelt talked about his awesome "Bad Beats" segment that he does on SportsCenter. Here is one of his best editions ever.
Traina Thoughts is the best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts right here.And make sure to listen to and subscribe to the SI Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina.
IN CLOSING: No NBA tonight. No NBA tomorrow night. Not good.