Television deals are a major part of WWE’s business model and have been one of the biggest drivers of the company’s financial success. Even as cable TV on the whole appears to be fading as streaming services become more popular, WWE has pushed its TV network deals as strongly as possible.
But according to a recent report by the Wrestling Observer, WWE’s current TV network arrangement may change ahead of their much-anticipated deal renewal negotiations.
Following WWE’s high-profile merger with UFC, there appears to be renewed interest in the company as an intellectual property. This is especially true because, according to the Observer, several networks are seeing ratings declines on scripted programming but not on live/sports programming and WWE qualifies as the latter.
With traditional TV networks looking to be desperate to lock in a proven ratings draw in the face of declining viewership, WWE looks to be in an advantageous position. In fact, Dave Meltzer noted that NBC might look to try and get SmackDown added to their line-up once WWE’s deal with Fox comes to an end.
“I know that there was talk of NBC getting SmackDown. There’s been no official negotiations but I have absolutely heard the idea of NBC being interested as far as the idea of getting everything and putting SmackDown on the network. That does make sense.”
WWE could leave Fox for NBC when the company’s TV rights negotiations begin
Although this is only speculation at this time, Meltzer did note that the likelihood of NBC picking up SmackDown is a lot more likely to happen now than it was a few years ago.
If WWE were to leave Fox, then that would be that, at least for fans in the United States, all of WWE’s core weekly shows would fall under the NBC program umbrella.
h/t WrestlingNews.co for the transcription