The acquisition of WWE by Endeavor was officially confirmed the day following WrestleMania 39, in announcements made by Vince McMahon and Endeavor CEO Ari Manuel. The transaction places WWE under the corporate umbrella of TKO Group Holdings, joining forces with other entities like UFC.
As the transition wraps up, the focus has now shifted to what lies ahead for WWE, especially in terms of television rights for their flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown. The existing contracts with USA Network and FOX are set to expire in 2024.
Impact on WWE’s Media Rights After Endeavor Acquisition: What’s Next?
Mark Shapiro, Endeavor’s President and CEO, provided insights during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Shapiro mentioned that “encouraging conversations” have already been initiated with prospective platforms for Raw and SmackDown.
“We’re having very encouraging conversations with several players and platforms at the moment on WWE Raw and Smackdown.
“We’re cautiously optimistic, we’re, in many ways, being valued as a unicorn because we’re a year-round. WWE is a full calendar, sports and entertainment platform with significant engagement, strong reach and attractive demos.
“That bodes well for these conversations and I believe that we’ll have results that are in line with market expectations.”
Simultaneously, WWE CEO Nick Khan spoke to the Sports Business Journal, revealing plans to intensify negotiations as the football season kicks off.
“You’ve seen bidding wars between Comcast and Disney on things like the Fox assets, which ultimately went to Disney, and Sky, which ultimately went to Comcast.
“It does make one wonder how this might look down the road as both companies and as TKO enters into these negotiations.
“We think ratings, relevancy and revenue for both properties are off the charts, and, of course, we always want to grow that.”
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