Jay's Ways - WWE TV Heading To FOX? Submitted by Justin Watry on 03/02/2018 at 09:40 PM
“I have been reading your stuff on 411mania and nodq.com for the longest time now and I have never felt inclined to email in. The general consensus of you not being most popular is harsh at times but also can be well-founded too. But I still read your stuff because I do enjoy your articles and find your perspective interesting most of the time.
That said, your article about your friend Megan and trip to Wrestlemania was the greatest thing you have ever wrote. Forget about the predictions you brag about getting right. This is your crowning piece. Maybe it is because I can relate as going to Wrestlemania is my ultimate dream and it will be happening next year. But I genuinely loved your article.
Thank you for the great stuff.”
- Jay's Ways reader
Celebrity Big Brother
It's over. It's all over.
Just as quickly as Big Brother: Celebrity Edition began, the run has come to a crashing halt. Originally planned to be a two week series and boy what a two weeks it was! The evictions came at a record pace. The challenges were all over the board. The entire point of scheming and plotting for the long-term was throw out the window in a hurry. I won't give any spoilers; I will say this though. I enjoyed the "season" for what it was (cheap programming on CBS to combat the Olympics on NBC). However, if it does not happen again, I won't mind. Big Brother works best with non-celebrities and an actual two-three month journey. That is how the game works. Not here, good luck, thanks, bye, done. Just didn't connect.
WWE Raw THIS Monday In Milwaukee
As most already know, I will be live in Milwaukee this Monday night for WWE Raw. Just as when I attended FastLane 2017 and WrestleMania 33, I don't think I will be tweeting much during the show. Same with concerts, movies, plays, or sporting events. I am actually one of the few in this day and age that love to just sit back and watch the action. I will probably send out a few photos and such, but do not expect a play by play on Twitter of every small detail and junk like that until AFTERWARDS! Then I will write all about my experience and share the highs and lows.
Be sure to be on 411mania.com for my live WWE RAW review - likely next Tuesday or Wednesday night...
Speaking of 411, head on over there right now for my latest columns. Yes, that is plural. Hint, hint. Exclusively there. Won't be found anywhere else.
Another quick plug: I am now writing for BodySlam.net and posted a new column about Ronda Rousey. I detail why I LOVED her Elimination Chamber appearance, plus her Raw/WM34 direction. All positives.
$270.2 million in 2017.
That is how much WWE made from television revenue last year. Obviously a huge chunk of their $802 million in revenue from the past 12 months. If you ever wonder why the company is now valued at $2.94 BILLION, look no further. There is a good explanation why Vince McMahon can just casually take out $100 million and nobody blinks an eye. The company has a ton of cash on hand and brings in the dough through various deals. Some merchandising, some via WWE Network, some via live events, some thanks to advertisers...but right now, it all comes down to their TV contract expiring next year. That $270.2 million per year is huge...
...but could balloon to $400 million per year should FOX sign WWE programming for 2019.
That is the rumor right now.
Thanks to SportingNews and their reporting from this past week, we have a look inside how WWE is going after their next TV contract.
NBCUniversal (USA Network, E!, and a host of various channels) has had WWE back on their screens since October 2005. That may all be coming to an end (again) fairly soon because we are getting down to nut cutting time. Right now, NBCU has an exclusive negotiating window with WWE until the spring. If you don't know what that means, just think of sports. Teams that have a player signed are the only ones who can negotiate a new deal with them before that contract ends. However, once the 'restricted free agent' label comes off them, any team can swoop in and offer them a fat contract to play for them instead.
If you know sports, it happens all the time. A player is with his team, negotiations go for awhile but no deal is reached, and then BOOM! Another team offers the player a ridiculous amount, and in a matter of minutes, a deal is finalized. Too much money to pass regardless of the terms.
That is what is happening right now.
Truth be told: USA Network and WWE are a perfect match. USA likes them a lot, especially their ratings/viewership for 52 weeks out of the year. USA tends to NOT shy away from the fact that wrestling is on their network. USA and WWE cross promote a ton. Heck, NXT and Smackdown LIVE have made their way to USA Network in 2017, as well as a reality show on The Miz and Maryse. Clearly, the two sides are happy. They have done business together for years now, and the relationship works. USA (NBCU as a whole) gets great numbers beating most of cable every year, and WWE gets to be associated with a top channel for everybody to have access to their product. Win-win.
Here is the issue though, and it has been looking for awhile now.
WWE ratings are down. The last time they signed a deal with NBCU was their extension in spring 2014 - which is now expiring next year. That was almost four years ago when numbers were much higher than they are now. It is going to be tough for Vince McMahon to go into the offices of NBCU and ask for a raise. That $270 million+ per year looks awfully nice...but again, the deal agreed to is now years out of date. Does those same terms impress executives in 2018? Especially, as I noted, since viewership has tumbled in those four year.
I think it would be very difficult. Social media numbers aside, Youtube hits aside, stock price aside, network subscriptions aside, USA Network has to look out for USA Network. They honestly could give two shoots about WWE Network or the $2.94 BILLION stock price. If their ratings for their channel are suffering, that is their main concern. Not how many hits Rey Mysterio can bring to a Youtube video or what NXT Takeover is doing next month. They don't care and rightfully so.
That is where FOX comes into play. They recently stole some NFL games away from a competing network and have been looking to make a big splash in TV. The UFC deal is expiring, and I think they may be looking to move away from that. Things didn't exactly go as planned with Dana White's organization when they came on board years back. Probably best to NOT renew them come 2019.
Not many other options remain then for FOX...
You tell me what other cable show brings top ratings 52 weeks out of the year besides Raw and Smackdown LIVE.
You can't do it.
The Walking Dead and whatever is on has what, 16 one hour episodes? Something like that.
Yeah, not the same. Even at their supposed 'low' point, they still outrank 95% of everything else. WWE has three hours of Raw. Two hours of Smackdown LIVE. A host of other B-shows online and their own network to possibly give to FOX. Plus, all the reality shows and everything in between to fill content 52 weeks out of the year.
Now, that all sounds well and good, but why would WWE leave a comfortable situation with NBCU?
It always come down to money. While $270.2 million per year looks pretty, FOX Is reportedly set to offer WWE $400 million per year. Part of that is to air Raw on the broadcast network FOX and Smackdown LIVE on Fox Sports 1.
To my readers, FOX is a broadcast channel like NBC, ABC, and CBS. That is a MASSIVE, MASSIVE selling point. USA Network is cable. FOX is not; that reaches the entire freakin' world no matter what television provider you have.
Fox Sports 1 is, admittedly, a lesser known cable channel, so Smackdown LIVE would indeed take a hit. The strategy for FOX (and WWE) is that the attention the shows brings will catch my eyeballs. Kinds like when The Nashville Network (TNN) shocked the world by signing RAW in 2000. Such an obscure and unknown channel suddenly had the hottest show on cable. Why?
Money. They offered much more than anybody else and wanted to grow their audience.
Exactly what FOX is wanting to do now.
I don't know how you all feel, but WWE is about to hit the jackpot. Either one of two things is about to happen here.
A) FOX waits out this exclusive NBCU/WWE negotiating window for the next few months and then signs Raw/Smackdown LIVE to a huge $400 million per year deal.
B) NBCU (WWE's current home) feels the pressure from FOX and offers even MORE to keep Raw/Smackdown LIVE.
Regardless, Vince McMahon and crew are sitting pretty. I mean, what if FOX really wants to ruffle some feathers and offers up a time slot for XFL games in 2020 too? The timing fits. Fox has a butt load of lesser cable channels to fill hours of programming with. Why not throw some XFL on during Sunday afternoons or something? Just enough to sweet the deal to get WWE. This is all going to be very intriguing. A bidding war for WWE in 2018, amazing, huh? For all the talk of low ratings and blah, blah, blah, we we are.
Stock at $2.94 BILLION and a record breaking $400 million per year TV deal on the horizon...