Sport Business Jornal revealed new information about WWE’s television deal that will come into effect in late 2019.
The article talks about the two year negotiation battle between TV networks that were attempting to get either UFC or WWE on their television lineups. It also looks at the head-to-head battle between Endeavor (who managed to get a five-year, $1.5 billion deal between ESPN and UFC) and Creative Artists Agency (who managed to get a $2.34 billion deal between WWE & NBCUniversal & Fox). Some highlights from the piece will be listed below.
- At one point, ESPN was in the running to get WWE on their network. ESPN officials had multiple meetings with Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, and co-presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios. The reasoning the two didn’t reach an agreement was due to the fact WWE felt since ESPN had a variety of different sporting programs, they would not have a consistent time slot on a weekly basis.
- ESPN also had started their ESPN+ subscription-based service and wanted to run the wrestling juggernauts content, but would have been in direct competition with the WWE Network.
- NBCUniversal offered the company a $130 million deal for both RAW and Smackdown and told WWE to either take the deal or there was none at all. This is the major reason for WWE to decide to split their programming on different networks and asking NBCU for $265 million a year while negotiating $1 billion deal for five years with FOX. NBCU only agreed to the RAW side of the deal, which left the opportunity for WWE to shop Smackdown Live.
- Fox began to look at WWE after UFC decided to not renew their existing deal. UFC was looking for a $200 million upgrade from their prior deal with Fox and instead of agreeing to a raise, Fox decided to let the deal expire.
- Officials from both Fox and WWE are still planning a celebration on reaching a deal when both parties are in town.