WWE is open for business in more ways than one. The company could be entering into a very interesting phase in history as well, because television rights deals always bring interesting developments. This time around, it could mean a big change for WWE.

WWE CEO Nick Khan is actively engaged in discussions with various networks regarding the upcoming media rights deals for Raw and SmackDown, as the current contracts with USA Network and FOX are set to expire next year.

Having surpassed the exclusive negotiation period with the existing broadcasters, WWE has the flexibility to explore conversations and negotiations with other potential network partners. WWE is open to streaming platforms as well, and they are even open to moving nights of the week if it makes sense.

Recent reports indicate that Disney has exhibited interest in securing WWE programming for FX, a departure from ESPN. This interest stems from ESPN’s inability to commit to a fixed weekly schedule due to its extensive lineup of rotating sports broadcasts, including agreements with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and other major leagues. In addition to Disney, contenders such as Amazon Prime and Warner Bros. Discovery are also being considered as potential bidders in this process.


While appearing on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch, Burke Magnus, ESPN’s President of Content, was asked how ESPN feels about its relationship with WWE. Burke stated that their view on WWE changed a few years ago and if WWE’s rights are available, then it’s a possibility.

“It wouldn’t be a pod with you without a WWE question so I do appreciate that. By the way, I’m overdue, I’m overdue to go to an event. I haven’t been in a little while but… yes, yes (he jokingly responded when it was mentioned that Nick Khan could get him tickets). I think it continues to be — I guess from a glass half-full perspective, I’d say I believe our companies — and this changed a couple of years ago so this is not breaking news but I believe our point of view towards WWE as a potential distribution outlet for their events, I think we passed that a long time ago and I think we’re now in the bucket of, hey, if their rights are available and there’s a deal for us that works and a deal for them that works with us, I think it’s certainly a possibility.”

“There’s no hesitation anymore from a brand perspective or from a live event versus scripted. Their fans and our viewers, there’s tremendous overlap so, to me, it’s just about the business of it and is there something that works. I may have said this to you last time we talked but, to their credit, they run a 52-week-a-year business, right?… And I’m thinking, well, let me start from the linear perspective. 52 weeks a year is impossible for us to do on almost any configuration based on the other rights that we have. So that actually cuts against us from a linear perspective but on the digital side, if we were to be in business with them on a streaming or direct-to-consumer or distribution or a pay-per-view distribution or other such thing, I think that’s more easily achievable and they have a great product… Well I’m not (talking to WWE). So, I’ll just leave it at that.”

We will have to see where WWE lands with their new television rights deal. Obviously, this could mean a big change for fans, as they have to alter their viewing habits. That being said, WWE is all about making profits, and it seems that they are taking a lot of offers.

WWE has gone past the date of expiration for their exclusive window to talk with FOX and USA Network at this point. Only time will tell where RAW and SmackDown land next by the end of 2024.

What’s your take on WWE’s latest television rights talks? Do you think they should stick to FOX and USA Network? Sound off in the comments to let us know what you think!

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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