FOX would have increased its offer to acquire WWE’s television rights. The US television network remains interested in WWE licenses maintaining the negotiations and looking for new options to add the weekly programming of RAW and SmackDown Live to its offer.
The Sporting News reports on the new offer that the FOX Broadcast Network would be making. Reportedly, FOX would seek to broadcast RAW on its main channel while SmackDown would be broadcasted on FOX Sports 1, its main channel dedicated to sports. Both channels enjoy great exposure and audience, so it could improve the reach of RAW by placing it on one of the main television networks in the country.
Sporting News details that the possible agreement with WWE would cause them to end their relationship with UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship, Mixed Martial Arts Company). Sources close to FOX would have reported that the network currently pays UFC 120 million a year for its broadcasting rights, however, both UFC and WWE would be looking to extend the price of their rights to 400 million dollars a year. Faced with this situation, one source tells Sporting News the following: “They will go from the UFC then they will use RAW and Fox Sports 1 content.”
In this way, the rapprochement between both parties would seem more possible. The WWE agreement with NBCUniversal, a communication company that owns USA Network, where RAW and SmackDown Live is currently being broadcast, would end on September 30. Until then, they will continue valuing other offers and be seeking new agreements. For months, the first contacts with several companies, such as Facebook or Disney, began to appear, but FOX remains the most likely option.
During this week it was reported that Fox Sports 1 host Colin Cowherd, critical of WWE for many years was on this week’s taping of SmackDown Live in Los Angeles. Along with him were other top executives such as Fox Sports president Eric Shanks and Fox Sports talent producer Jacob Ullman. Cowherd spoke positively of his experience on the WWE show.
At the moment WWE will continue negotiating in the coming months. According to The Sporting News, they would have contacted WWE, and a WWE worker would have declined to comment on the situation. However, he added that the idea now is to announce his plans between May and September before his contract ends.