who we now know killed his wife and son and then killed himself. I questioned the timeline and said that I thought that the WWE must have knew hours before they ran the three-hour classic that Benoit was a suspected murderer. I understand the dilemma the WWE had--producing a three-hour special is not easy, especially in something like 10 hours. I wasn't sure what they could run and then it occured to me--how about some old WrestleMania? They surely have plenty of archives.
Now, looking at the timeline, I think it's pretty clear that the WWE people knew of enough details by 8 p.m. NOT to run the tribute. The WWE, in a timeline, even admits that at 4 p.m. they received a call from the Fayetteville County Sheriff's office that advised them of the scene and I think it's a safe assumption to say, that advisory included plenty of details.
Meanwhile, the WWE stock continues to tumble this morning. Not only is a perception thing, it's also a revenue issue (not like that's the most important thing right now, but it's important to the stockholders). Some people think that this ultimately will hurt the WWE--the organization announced the cancellation of its Canadian tour scheduled from July 14-17. Benoit was from Canada.
As of this writing, 10:30 on Wednesday morning, it's down $1.87 per share since Vince McMahon faked his death on the night of June 11th.
Last night, I reported that Greg Oden will sign a deal with Spalding todayand that there was another deal coming. That deal is for Take-Two's College Hoops 2K8, the competitor to EA's NCAA March Madness '08, which named Kevin Durant as its cover athlete yesterday. Back to Spalding, the Oden deal is for backboards and basketballs, the latter is surprising because Oden just signed a shoe deal with Nike . Nike has now moved past Wilson as the second leading seller of basketballs, with Spalding taking the top spot. Spalding is also announcing with Oden today that they are signing Gilbert Arenas, who might be the most underrated endorser in the game. If he could ever get a team far into the playoffs, Arenas could be a real force in the marketing world.
NBA Television Deal
The NBA will announce its new eight-year television deal with the same partners--ABC/ESPN and TNT. As Richard Sandomir of the New York Times notes, it's expected to be a "modest increase" from the $766.6 million annual rights fee in the last deal. In a programming note, we will be running a package all day on CNBC tomorrow on the deal made by the Silna brothers, who as the owners of the Spirits of St. Louis, made a deal to get 1/7th of the television revenue of the Spurs, Nuggets, Nets and Pacers as part of the ABA-NBA merger. The piece will first run on "Squawk Box" at 6:30 a.m. ET tomorrow and it includes comments from John Y. Brown, who took a $3 million buyout as part of the merger. Here's a preview of what Brown said:
"There were a couple of rogues that were new to the league and they held them up for all they could get. The owners were desperate. They either thought they had to have a merger or the league may go out of existence, but that had been the mentality for a number of years."
For more, check out the piece on CNBC tomorrow, and my blog tomorrow will be devoted entirely to the Silnas.
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com