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New Details on How The WWE/FOX Deal Came Together

May 30, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
WWE Smackdown Live Logo Smackdown’s

The Hollywood Reporter has a new report up on the billion dollar WWE TV deal for Smackdown. NBC Universal had expected to sign a new 10-year deal with WWE for $360 million per year to retain the rights to WWE programming but then opted to allow Smackdown to go to open market and it landed at Fox, which is where WWE scored their billion dollar deal. FOX patriarch Rupert Murdoch was intricate to the deal being made

CAA’s Nick Khan (who was representing WWE in the TV negotiations) was contacted by FOX Chairman Peter Rice, who stated that should WWE not make a deal with NBC Universal, FOX wanted to meet with the company immediately for the rights to the Smackdown franchise. The show hit the open market on May 16th and on May 17th Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Michelle Wilson and George Barrios (but not Vince McMahon) visited with Fox to hear their pitch.

Murdoch reportedly pitched to the WWE Executives that NBC Universal was “embarrassed” by WWE’s product, but that Fox would be all in, integrating Smackdown promotion into Fox broadcasts including Major League Baseball and NFL broadcasts. The pitch also included a weekly WWE “studio show” on FS1 as well. At the meeting, Fox TV screens in the room featured WWE photos, including Ronda Rousey shots, with the FOX and FS1 logos superimposed, pushing the marriage of the two brands.

Getting WWE was looked at as a major goal for Fox, as they plan to reboot their company once they have finalized the sale of their movie studio and other assets to The Walt Disney Company. The new Fox will be built around live and sporting events. Fox let the UFC go, feeling they couldn’t sell it to advertisers, but with WWE as a family-friendly product, sales pitches will become easier.

NBC had the right to match any offer that was $200 million per year, but Fox offer the $205 million per year to avoid that. The Fox/WWE Smackdown deal will be for five years starting in October 2019, worth over $1 billion dollars total, broken down to $205 million per years. That puts Smackdown on Fox through 2024.

The NBC deal for Raw to remain on the USA Network is expected to be $265 million per year, for 10 years, and a total of $2.65 billion. WWE was making $130 million a year for Raw & Smackdown under their previous deal.

article topics :

FOX, WWE, WWE Smackdown, Larry Csonka