If WWE pulls out of its deal with Saudi Arabia over the current controversy the company could lose out on an estimated $16 million.
It feels as if we are learning more and more about the escalating situation currently ongoing in Saudi Arabia. It has now been confirmed that missing Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in a brutal fashion. Despite that information now being common knowledge, WWE has still not confirmed whether Crown Jewel will still be going ahead as planned or not.
However, it is pretty evident that the subject is being heavily discussed backstage. Despite no explanation as to why, WWE has removed any mention of Saudi Arabia from its Crown Jewel promotional material. Even when angles that will culminate at the event were taking place on WWE television this week, everyone involved was very careful not to mention Saudi Arabia whatsoever.
The obvious and unfortunate catch 22 for WWE is the money involved. It's no secret that the Saudi Arabian royal family is paying Vince McMahon and his Superstars an awful lot of money to come to its country twice a year. According to Dade Hayes of Deadline, moving Crown Jewel to a different location at this point in time would result in WWE losing an estimated $2-$3 million.
The current situation may warrant more than just Crown Jewel not going ahead as planned, however. It is only the second show of a decade-long deal between WWE and Saudi Arabia after all. If Mr. McMahon decides to scrap his promotion's relationship with the Middle Eastern nation altogether, Eric Handler of MKM Partners estimates that it will cost a lot more than $3 million. Handler believes that canceling the deal altogether would result in losses of up to $16 million for WWE in 2019.
To most of you reading this, that's a lot of money. More than the majority of us will have in our lifetimes. However, for WWE, it is not. It might be annoying for Mr. McMahon and no one likes just throwing money away, but it has to be put into perspective. The company's unwillingness to make a statement about Crown Jewel is already doing it damage. It recently tied up separate billion dollar plus TV deals for both Raw and SmackDown Live, just chalk the Saudi Arabia situation up as a loss and quickly move on.