Earlier today, The New York Post reported that the exclusive TV rights renewal negotiating window for WWE with Fox and Comcast/USA Network has officially ended. The sunsetting of the timeframe to negotiate means that WWE is now free to speak with any entity it likes about potentially picking up the TV rights for Raw and/or Smackdown, starting October 2024. While the news may be disconcerting to WWE’s current partners, it is not uncommon for this to happen when content providers are looking to get the most money they can for their products.
It is believed that Fox and NBC Universal/USA Network are the frontrunners to re-up for their respecting weekly WWE content but that is not guaranteed. Earlier this year, rumors circulated that Warner Brothers Discovery could be interested in the right to WWE’s televised product, expanding their roster of pro wrestling programming beyond the AEW shows they already host. However, that rumor was quickly debunked by sources from both WWE and AEW who were caught off guard by the idea gaining any steam.
Currently, WWE is getting $265 million a year from Comcast for Monday Night Raw and another $205 million per year from Fox for Friday Night Smackdown. Those hugely lucrative deals have become the backbone of WWE’s annual revenue, outside of their WrestleMania-level shows in Saudi Arabia. WWE’s $1 billion streaming deal with Peacock does not expire until March 2026 and for that reason, their streaming rights are not involved in current negotiations.
Outside of Fox and Comcast/USA Network, it was noted that the other two major potential suitors for WWE’s content are Amazon Prime and Disney. In regard to the latter, WrestleVotes has shed some light on Vince McMahon and the company’s desire to share space with Mickey Mouse.
“Regarding the TV rights negotiations, there is big time interest from WWE in a Disney partnership,” the insider Twitter account began. “Not to say the other parties involved aren’t enticing, but Disney is viewed as a win win if that’s ultimately the decision.”
With the success Disney has found expanding on the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, it is easy to see why WWE views them as a perfect fit. With the expansive network of Superstars that the company holds the trademarks to, both past and present, there is a multitude of film and television projects that Walt Disney’s legendary studio could capitalize on.