WWE has been juggling two major television partners since the start of their most recent television rights deals. The company has been performing excellently and is consistently USA Network’s highest-rated show and one of the most-watched cable programs. While WWE doesn’t do quite as well for SmackDown’s home at Fox, the company is doing what it can to keep their product on network TV.
Fox allows WWE to air over the air to every home in the United States. The deal is a boon for visibility in an industry that often struggles to gain credibility with mainstream audiences. WWE being on network television is Vince McMahon’s dream come true.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer talked about how WWE has been dealing with their TV partners. It was said that Fox is getting preferential treatment, as they’ve been given Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, and other top superstars who the network coveted. WWE is going out of their way to keep the network happy because they know Fox doesn’t need them to succeed.
“Fox doesn’t need them [WWE], but they’re doing everything to appease Fox. They put Lesnar on Fox. They put Ronda Rousey on Fox. Charlotte Flair is on Fox which Fox has always wanted, so they got her. It’s very clear right now that SmackDown is getting the best end of the deal because Fox was the…
SmackDown does well under Fox’s average. Raw does four times, essentially, USA’s average. So, Fox can take or leave it, so they’re going to make sure. But Fox is a much, much better vehicle for SmackDown. I mean, if for whatever reason, and I don’t expect this to happen, Fox goes, ‘You know what, we don’t got NFL on Thursday.’ The whole idea was going to be a big sports weekend. Thursday’s going to be the NFL. Friday’s going to be SmackDown, Saturday’s going to be college football, and then Sunday’s going to be the NFL. That was what they were going to build the whole network around.
Thursday football was very successful, but they didn’t bid to keep it. It ended up going, actually is going streaming. Obviously, they’re still going to have Saturday and Sunday with the college football and pro football. But, they don’t need that bridge. It’s easy for them to do. They’re in business… There’s a lot of other business that Fox is doing with WWE, so it is a beneficial relationship for them. So, I will expect that they will want to keep it. Obviously, WWE will also want to play, you know, again, streaming services that are willing to overspend like Peacock. And WWE knows that.”
WWE has some major streaming and secondary rights deals coming up for negotiation shortly. President Nick Khan believes the deals will amount to even greater record revenues and profits. We’ll see if Fox will continue to see the relationship as mutually beneficial.
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Transcription by Ringside News