According to a new report by Michael McCarthy of Sporting News, FOX is prepared to make a major push for the WWE TV rights when they expire next year.
The report adds FOX could be sweetening its deal offer by promising to air Monday Night Raw on FOX, and air Smackdown Live on FOX Sports 1. If the deal were to go through as offered, it would mark the first time in WWE history that Raw has aired on broadcast television.
WWE’s current deal with NBCUniversal expires on September 30th, 2019, and while WWE declined to comment on the Sporting News report, WWE spokeswoman Annie Kruger did say the company plans to announce its U.S. TV partner between May and September of this year.
As noted, FOX currently has a deal in place with UFC, but that will likely end if FOX can secure the rights to WWE programming.
“[Fox] is definitely trying to get [the WWE]. They’ll pass on UFC, then use ‘Raw’ for [Fox Broadcasting] and FS1 content,” said a source.
The report furthers both WWE and UFC are seeking up to $400 million a year for their TV rights, but that FOX might be more likely to pay the big bucks to WWE over UFC.
Sporting News pointed towards another indication that FOX appears to be courting WWE, picking up on Colin Cowherd seeming to have undergone a change of heart when it comes to his feelings on WWE. The report notes Cowherd is the most plugged-in with the thinking of Fox bosses and has gone from calling WWE fans “booger eaters” to praising the company as professionally run.
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