Fox invested a lot of money into WWE’s product and since then Vince McMahon’s company is doing anything they can to make Fox happy. This can be a bit of a tricky situation, because Fox is not WWE’s only network partner.
According to Fightful Select, the relationship between WWE and Fox has been a bit “strained.”
Fightful has reached out to several close to the WWE/Fox relationship after being told in July that the relationship between the two sides was strained.
A source from Fox reportedly “admitted that the WWE viewership was disappointing in comparison to expectations.” It was also stated that the nature of the pandemic makes things harder to gauge where the viewership and ratings numbers will “level out.”
Fox is also not “over the moon” about WWE promoting Peacock on their network. Peacock is owned by NBCU, a competitor of Fox. It should be noted that Fox and WWE sources noted that it hasn’t been an issue.
One WWE source indicated that if there were names at FOX that wanted the PPV content, they could have paid the premium that Peacock did for it.
It was also noted that the upcoming Vince McMahon biographical series will likely not paint Rupert Murdoch in the bet light. It was called a “childish move” by a source at Fox and it “won’t help the relationship at all.”
Murdoch told Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and other executives in 2018 that if USA Network is “embarrassed and ashamed of their programming and that Fox would welcome them as they were.” That being said, it is reported that “at least one direct conversation that Vince McMahon had with Rupert Murdoch in recent months” occurred where “that subject wasn’t said to be broached.” It was reported that those in WWE said that concern has not been brought up and the two work with “great respect” between WWE and Fox.
It was also reported that WWE and Fox had “several high-level meetings in recent months.” Vince McMahon and Nick Khan met with Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks and Brad Zager on the night before SummerSlam.
We’re told that a dinner between the two sides at the Wynn in Las Vegas lasted around four hours, and said to be productive from WWE’s end.
Vince McMahon and Nick Khan devised another way to “appease Fox.” Their first LA show back will be a SmackDown event rather than a RAW show, because Fox Sports’ headquarters is in Los Angeles.
WWE and Fox are in the middle of a five-year deal, and it sounds like quite a give and take situation.
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