Amazon and Facebook join the list of companies interested in acquiring TV rights to WWE
As previously reported by Sports Business Jornal, WWE’s contract with the USA Network expires on September 30 and they have not yet commented on the future of this agreement. Before that, the McMahon company would have looked for new alternatives to the current network that broadcasts RAW and SmackDown Live. New information would indicate that there would be several companies interested in acquiring the broadcast rights of WWE.
Variety has spoken to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon about this in an interview. When asked about the situation they have with NBC Universal (the company that owns the USA Network), executive vice president of talents, live events and creative area Paul Levesque (Triple H), has merely commented that “it is an exciting time”. For its part Stephanie McMahon, Head of the WWE Brand, has commented on it:
“We are incredibly happy with our agreement with USA Network, as far as the future is concerned, well, we’ll see, but we’ve been very, very happy and we hope that NBC will be equally happy.”
Variety also points out that there would be new companies interested in bidding for the television rights of RAW and SmackDown Live. Recently FOX was pointed out, but several internal sources would have highlighted that Amazon and Facebook would join the race to try to get the rights. Recently, WWE began with the WWE Mixed Match Challenge exclusively on Facebook Watch, thus beginning a certain rapprochement between both parties.
As reported in November Sports Business Journal, WWE’s chief financial officer George Barrios and Triple H would have met with several executives from different companies such as CBS, Disney, Amazon, YouTube, and FOX to present their programming, without negotiating anything. After that, the reports that pointed to the possibility of purchase by FOX gained strength, since they would currently seek an alternative after the “disappointment” they would have with the UFC data. In this way, FOX would try to cover a possible march of the MMA company with wrestling programming.
USA Network President Chris McCumber has been grateful to the audience that attracts WWE to some of its programs such as Chrisley Knows Best and Shooter. It should be noted that between RAW and SmackDown, WWE programming accounts for more than a third of the audience that gets USA Network in prime time, in addition to generating revenues of 180 million dollars over the past year. Despite the fact that the future of the issuance of the badges is not decided, Stephanie McMahon ruled out for Variety that the shows came to WWE Network in a recent interview, noting that this is not the way they want to take at the moment.