With the sale of WWE to Endeavor now underway and a merger with UFC on the horizon, attention has turned to the subject of the company’s TV rights deals.
According to a report from PWInsider Elite, at least one major network is already in talks about future projects, with ESPN said to have “renewed discussions” about a partnership.
However, it should be noted that these discussions don’t relate to a weekly TV series. Instead, there have been early conversations about what the two companies could do together.
With their current TV rights deals with NBCU and Fox coming up in 2024, the report notes that WWE is likely to be trying to get their programming in “as many potential places as possible” unless there is a big offer for exclusivity.
The two companies previously worked together in 2020 when ESPN began airing classic WWE content including older WrestleMania events. However, the partnership ended when the WWE Network became exclusive to Peacock the following year.
More recently, the network sent UFC icon Daniel Cormier to WrestleMania 39 for their coverage and interviews.
ESPN in talks with another promotion as well as WWE
Interestingly, PWInsider also notes that another promotion has been in talks with ESPN but it is likely that WWE entering the picture will put any potential deal at risk. The report specifically states that the unnamed company is not AEW.
Earlier this year, AEW announced their own partnership with the sports giant, but not in the US.
Instead, the deal, which began on February 16th, sees Dynamite, Rampage, and pay-per-views available to ESPN subscribers in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.
ESPN to Broadcast All Elite Wrestling (AEW) Exclusively in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands pic.twitter.com/wFDyIOviX4
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 10, 2023