wrestling / News

Jonathan Coachman Says ESPN’s WWE Coverage Helped Smackdown Get FOX Sports Deal

July 11, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Jonathan Coachman

– Jonathan Coachman spoke with Busted Open Radio about how ESPN’s coverage of WWE helped the company secure a deal for Smackdown on FOX Sports. Highlights are below per Wrestling Inc:

On ESPN giving WWE a mainstream platform: “Three years ago, I get a call and [WWE was] like ‘we really want to get on ESPN.’ Not only because it was the right thing to do but they’re like, ‘can you help us?’ Because other than the occasional Rock showing up for a movie promo there was no consistent content on any mainstream media. Because Vince and the executives at WWE knew that this day was coming. I knew if I wanted to do more than just ESPN, that this was a good way to help and to help facilitate. I got into fights, I pushed the envelope, and I got four other guys to help me and we called them ‘Coach’s Group.’ We just got given credit by the president of the company to Wall Street for helping facilitate this Fox deal so they took our content that we did every single week on SportsCenter. Then we got stuff into SportsCenter every single week. They took that content they took it to Fox. They had meetings with ESPN and said listen, after the shock value of the few people who called in saying ‘I can’t believe they’re having wrestling content on our beloved SportsCenter.’ After that shock value wore off they came to it in droves.”

On how WWE getting on ESPN helped get the FOX Sports deal for Smackdown: “They [ESPN] started an entire website that still lives today. Because of that and I’m not saying it’s the entire reason, but it’s a big part of the reason that his billion-dollar deal was done. Because Fox executives looked at what we did at ESPN and said, ‘Imagine if you had a partner instead of just a platform.’ That’s why I’m so excited about what Fox can be and what we can do for the fans. We have an opportunity now to be with a huge company, a huge media company. They took what we did and said, ‘We can make it bigger, we can make it better, and we can make it reach more fans the world over.’ That’s how it happened so when I read stories from certain people and you know who they are. They write stories as if they are fact but they are so off-base. That’s when I had an issue with what was written and what we did. At the end of the day I can’t get caught up in the mud because I need to focus on the deal we got done. That you cannot dispute, we got the deal done.”