Some new information on the process that lead to WWE's recent TV deals.
It was reported back in May that WWE came to an agreement with FOX to move SmackDown over to their network on a five-year agreement worth $1 billion. That report was followed up by yet another WWE business deal which entailed that the company reached a new agreement with NBCUniversal to continuing airing their flagship show Monday Night RAW on the USA Network for $265 million per year over the course of five years.
There was no word from WWE on the reports regarding if they were true or false but as the month of June was coming to an end WWE sent out two notifications confirming the reported TV deals. SmackDown Live will indeed be headed to FOX beginning in the fall of 2019 and RAW is remaining on the USA Network for the next five years as well with that deal in particular kick-starting in the fall of 2019 also.
Rumors of WWE looking to branch off to another network date back to the fall of 2017. An article published by John Ourand of the SportsBusiness Journal took an in-depth look at the sequence of events and happenings that went into WWE deciding to side with FOX for their SmackDown Live program and remain with the USA Network for RAW.
* There was a point in time when ESPN was in the running to secure a deal with WWE. The report noted that ESPN officials had a number of meetings with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and WWE Co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson. The reason behind WWE turning down the deal with ESPN is because ESPN features so much content from a variety of different sports and WWE felt as if it would be nearly impossible to air their programming every week at the same time slot with all of the news that runs through ESPN.
* FOX started to have an eye out for WWE after UFC decided not to renew their existing deal. UFC has now inked a deal with ESPN but before that the company wanted a $200 million upgrade from their prior deal with FOX and instead of agreeing to the raise FOX let the deal expire.
* In terms of the deal with NBCUniversal, according to the report they offered WWE a $130 million deal for both RAW and SmackDown and it was either WWE take the deal or there was no deal at all. This is what led to WWE deciding to split their brands on different networks and asking NBCU for $265 million per year and going on to work out their five year $1 billion deal with FOX. NBCU only agreed to the RAW side of the table which left the window open for WWE to shop SmackDown Live and they did just that with FOX.
To read the full report, click here. For the press releases by way of WWE on the TV deals with FOX and USA Network, head over to Fightful's coverage article of the news.