WWE's McMahon Should Have Apologized
CNBC Sports Business Reporter
I swear I'm trying to stop writing about the WWE, but I can't. I'm now capitivated by the drama this has become. The unfortunate drama that this has become. Last night, we found that -- in the midst of Vince McMahon faking his own death -- that wrestler Chris Benoit and his family had died. So the WWE made the seemingly rational decision to stop the Vince McMahon death stunt and make it into a three-hour tribute of Chris Benoit.
The one major problem I have with this now, after we found out today that Benoit strangled his wife, suffocated his son and hung himself in a weight-pulley machine, is that I'm now pretty sure that the WWE knew of these details as the tribute was running. How do I know this? Because I scoured in the Internet and found out that some publication called the Cleveland Leader was quoting the Atlanta-Journal Constitution at 8:39 p.m. on Monday night -- 39 minutes into the three-hour tribute -- confirming the belief that it was a double murder suicide. Now if a journalist has this detail, you bet the WWE did.
What probably happened is that as soon as they heard the news that Benoit had died, they started to gather all the tribute material. By the time they heard the gory details, it was too late and they needed to fill three hours of programming. I can see how it is a dilemma. I don't know what I would do. But I do know that having run that, glorifying Benoit -- who doesn't deserve any type of tribute -- McMahon needed to come on again and say something to the effect that, in retrospect, deifying Chris Benoit was probably the wrong thing to do.
McMahon did nothing of the sort on Tuesday night's ECW broadcast on SciFi. Check out his words at the beginning of the broadcast:
"Last night on Monday night raw the WWE presented a tribute show recognizing the career of Chris Benoit. However, 26 hours later, the facts of this horrific tragedy are now apparent. Therefore, other than my comments there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit's name tonight. On the contrary, tonight's show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening, marks the first step of the healing process. Tonight, WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world -- entertain you."
McMahon almost apologized, but saying that it has been ordered that Benoit's name won't be mentioned isn't exactly going far enough. It's interesting to watch how the street reacts to all of this. The WWE stock doesn't usually ebb and flow with the plot, but this time it is doing exactly that.
How bad do stockholders think the fake death and the real deaths are? Since McMahon's "fake death" on June 11, the stock has now slipped $1.63 a share, down 9.21% , to $16.07. That's the worst drop the stock has seen in a 15-day period in more than three years. From April 22 to May 5, 2004, WWE shares fell down $2.35, a 15.3% decrease.
Oden Pulling In The Endorsements
I have to say I'm really impressed with the amount of endorsements Greg Oden is pulling in. Sure he's the likely No. 1 pick, but so were Andrea Bargnani and Andrew Bogut. On Wednesday, Spalding is going to announce that they've added Oden to their roster, which makes sense since they're now selling backboards. This means that Oden will have Nike, Topps and Spalding and I hear there's another one coming. I actually met Oden for the first time one-on-one today and I think he has real potential. Sure, he looks like a 40-year-old man, but he's got a great smile and seems like a guy that loves to laugh. If he can get the Blazers on the right track, he might have a chance to be the next marketable big man, which is a tough task.
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com