Could CM Punk Deliver Big Bucks for RAW Rights?

12/13/2023 12:50 AM

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Could CM Punk Deliver Big Bucks for RAW Rights?

Could CM Punk Deliver Big Bucks for RAW Rights?

December 13, 2023 12:50 AM
Could CM Punk Deliver Big Bucks for RAW Rights?
WWE News

Why Punk Could Be the WWE's Secret Weapon

Could CM Punk deliver big bucks for RAW rights? The WWE is looking to secure a substantial increase when it lands a new TV rights deal for RAW and Dave Meltzer seems to think CM Punk's presence on RAW could bring home the bacon. Let's take a look at what Meltzer had to say at X:

While the WWE took a risk bringing Punk back to the WWE, the risk has paid off so far. Punk has sold plenty of merchandise, increased ticket sales, and boosted ratings. As Ringside News' Felix Upton noted, Warner Brothers Discovery executives saw Punk as a big deal when he worked in AEW:

CM Punk garnered attention when, after his return to AEW, he shared that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslov gave him the nickname “One Bill Phil.” This nickname suggests that featuring Punk on a show could potentially secure a one-billion-dollar TV rights deal.

H/T Ringside News

Why RAW's Rights Are So Crucial

The WWE has already negotiated deals with the USA Network to air SmackDown and the CW to air NXT. Both led to more money for the WWE, and the goal is to land even more money for the company's flagship show, RAW. The WWE derives much of its revenue from TV rights deals, so they must bring in additional money every time they negotiate a new deal.

It's even more important because there is growing competition from sports leagues such as the NFL, NHL, MLB, and the NBA. If a network or streaming service spends a large amount of money on football or hockey, they may not have the funds to pay for wrestling, which brings in viewers but typically doesn't bring in as much advertising revenue as professional sports.

Can Punk Deliver a Good Deal?

Punk is generating lots of attention for the WWE, and as Eric Bischoff commented recently, Punk could do quite well for himself if he avoids a meltdown. Let's look at the factors surrounding Punk and his impact on the WWE's efforts to secure more money for the rights to air RAW.

Punk's Inherent Value

The WWE should be able to present Punk as a hot commodity, noting his impact on the WWE so far, his past popularity, and how he adds to the already strong RAW brand. Whether or not you agree with this assessment is irrelevant because the WWE is good at presenting wrestling in ways that capitalize on TV executives' unfamiliarity with the industry's inner workings. For example, they might note Punk's popularity but be unaware of the possibility that his impact will taper off as it did in AEW.

Punk's History of Disciplinary Problems

The WWE will have to work hard to alleviate any concerns among TV executives that Punk will have any meltdowns as he did in AEW. Whether or not Punk was justified is irrelevant because executives are only concerned with consistency. If Punk is seen as a ratings champ, executives may balk at paying extra for the rights to RAW if they think Punk's future is uncertain.

Punk's Stay in the WWE

If Punk is seen as a big factor to pay more for RAW, will TV executives demand he be signed to a long-term deal? It's unknown whether executives looking at securing the rights to RAW will investigate the matter thoroughly. If they do, the WWE could find itself in a bad position, especially if there are any disciplinary problems with Punk. Would he take advantage of his status as RAW's golden goose? 

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, things will depend on TV executives doing due diligence to investigate RAW's value. Even without Punk's presence, RAW has grown in the ratings percentage-wise, something many long-running shows have been unable to do. It draws the all-important 18-49 demographic, often coming in the top five on cable.

As mentioned, TV executives often fail to grasp (or seem to fail to grasp) the many factors related to wrestling's successes and failures. If they think CM Punk's presence guarantees high ratings for the term of their TV deal, shame on them for failing to look into Punk's disciplinary problems, his seeming tendency to get hurt, and fans' sometimes fickle attitudes towards their favorites.

Do you think CM Punk will lead to the WWE securing even more money for the rights to RAW?

Photo Credit: WWE