WWE is in the middle of a five-year deal with Fox. That $1 billion contract also came with some serious talks and a period where WWE fielded offers from all over. It turns out that they used some tricky tactics to accomplish that feat.

On the AdFreeShows Patreon, Jonathan Coachman explained what hand he had in WWE landing a $1 billion deal with Fox Network. He claims that WWE wanted him to go in and convince ESPN to take a look at bidding on their programming, because would drive up the asking price.

“I just don’t think Vince cares enough to try to rekindle what I had or what I did for them. I don’t think people quite understand what I did for him. Let me be clear, in 2015 when the TV contracts were coming up and they [WWE] negotiating with USA and all these places, I got a phone call at 3 a.m. It was Vince’s right-hand man and he said to me, ‘Coach, you got to get our content on ESPN. We’ve got TV deals that are coming up, we’ve got to have leverage, we’ve got to be able to have other places look at our content to increase our value.’

So I went in and I fought and I fought and I fought, and I was starting to make enemies in the executives at ESPN to fight for Vince and everything that they wanted because I was so loyal. That was my mistake. I created what we called Coach’s Crew. It was me and five dudes at ESPN that were amazing. They all had different roles at ESPN, but we had to do it on our own time. ESPN was like, ‘Listen, you guys can do this, we’ll put it on SportsCenter, but you’re going to do it on your own time.’ We were cool with that. We were absolutely cool with that. So we were able to get 10 to 12 minutes of content on SportsCenter every single Tuesday with all the top stars. We even started feuds on SportsCenter that they used on Raw and SmackDown leading into Wrestlemania.


Then to have everything unfold the way that it did, then all of a sudden you have a FOX deal for a billion dollars. Well guess what was a big, big part of the video that they sold to FOX and said, ‘Listen if mainstream viewers can accept this, then so can you, then so can you.’ Then what happened was in April of 2017, we decided to stop that to see if ESPN wanted that content. We just stopped cold. They really showed no interest, so we knew we didn’t need to go down that road. This is all stuff that I did, personally. So when that deal was done and the president, whoever it was at the time, gave us credit, me and my crew for helping get a billion-dollar deal at FOX because we got their content on SportsCenter when it had never been done before, not even close. We made it happen.

Then you want to do that later? How quickly you forget all the phone calls I took in the middle of the night, all the things that we did, all the stuff that I said yes to. We weren’t even supposed to start feuds on SportsCenter. That was the directive that you can’t because they didn’t want any fake storylines started on a real sports show. That’s how hard that was to do, but we still were able to do it because my bosses couldn’t figure it out. People remember the Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. We started that on SportsCenter and my bosses didn’t even know because we were so good at doing it.

So when you do all of that, and you put that ahead of my career at ESPN, and that’s essentially what I did, and then to have them turn their backs on me like that. Again, is it about the money? Probably 10%. But I’m good. So 90% is about how I was treated and how they treated others. I’ll never get over that. You can’t do that and I don’t know why you’d want your legacy to be that either because that’s what it is right now.”

WWE cut a lot of their staff since the pandemic started. This is in spite of the fact that they are enjoying the guaranteed cash flow from their television deals. It turns out that WWE might owe Jonathan Coachman a real thank you in that department.

What’s your take on this story? Sound off in the comments!

Thanks to Fightful for the quote

Felix Upton

Felix Upton is a seasoned writer with over 30 years of experience. He began his career writing advertisements for local newspapers in New York before transitioning to publishing news for Ringside News. His expertise includes writing, editing, research, photo editing, and video editing. In his free time, he enjoys bungee jumping and learning extinct languages.

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