It looks like FOX might want to get in the professional wrestling business.
Rumors have been swirling for months that FOX may be interested in obtaining the television rights for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) once their current deal with the USA Network is done later this year.
FOX recently sold the majority of their assets to Disney in a blockbuster deal with the remaining television properties — including FOX, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 — aiming at 80-percent of their programming to be live, mostly targeted on sports. FOX recently bought the rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package and adding WWE programming would be a huge boost for Monday and Tuesday nights.
According to a report from the Sporting News, FOX is aggressively pursuing those WWE television rights with additional sources telling SEScoops that the network would definitely like to land the professional wrestling organization as another major addition to their programming lineup.
Part of the benefit of landing with FOX would be that WWE’s flagship program ‘Monday Night Raw’ would land on network television on FOX’s broadcast channel. That would open up the WWE to even bigger ratings than what’s even possible on USA Network currently. WWE’s other show ‘Smackdown Live’ would then likely land on FOX Sports 1 on Tuesday nights.
Now it’s no secret that FOX currently has a broadcast deal with the UFC with those rights expiring at the end of 2018. Speculation has been that if FOX lands the WWE then the UFC would ultimately leave the network for another suitor.
That may not end up being the case, however, if FOX could make a competitive bid to land both entities to boost their programming lineup. WWE only runs shows on Monday and Tuesday nights, neither of which interfere with anything the UFC does on a week to week basis. Add to that, UFC provides far more overall programming, which is a huge part of the lineup at FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 currently.
If FOX could land both WWE and UFC — assuming they are willing to foot the bill — that would mean the majority of their programming would be locked up for several years to come. Of course there’s no telling if WWE and UFC would want to share the same airspace but for the right price it’s tough to imagine they wouldn’t agree to the deal.
There’s also the possibility that FOX is making overtures to both WWE and UFC in an attempt to play them off each other to ensure they are paying the best possible price to land those broadcast deals.
For now, WWE will continue to show their broadcast rights with hopes of announcing a new deal sometime between May and September.
Would you like to see WWE programming land on FOX? Sound off in the comments to let us know.