WWE: Analysing The 5 Networks WWE Is Negotiating TV Rights With
3. 21st Century Fox
Where things would go:
Raw – Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
Smackdown – Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
Total Divas! – FX
Main Event/Superstars/NXT – FS1/FS2
WWE Studios – Closer relationship with 20th Century Fox. Possible showing movies on FXM.
Why they might win:
Fox really wants Fox Sports 1 to be a huge success. They’ve been spending heavily to attract sports (NASCAR, Soccer, MLB, College Football/Basketball, Golden Boy Boxing) and heavily been leveraging UFC programming as a top draw. However, viewership, especially as compared to competitor ESPN, has been dismal. Bringing Raw/Smackdown to FS1 would guarantee a huge swell in weekly viewers. Additionally, WWE viewers are more likely to have a strong interest in other Sports programming on the station – especially driving viewers for the UFC fights.
Why they might lose:
Internationally, 21st Century Fox is a powerful player with assets ranging from BSkyB (UK, 39% ownership), Sky Deutschland (Germany, 55% ownership), Sky Italia (Italy), STAR TV (India & China), Tata Sky (India, 20% ownership). It’s a strong international player, but this negotiation is for domestic rights. No Fox station is a great fit for Total Divas! - the only real reality show programming is The Ultimate Fighter on Fox Sports 1, and Total Divas! is a far cry from that. It’s possible that Fox will be have the interest to win a single property (Raw or Smackdown), but it’s questionable whether WWE would want to move a strong show to a weak network. Additionally, Fox may be saving their money so they can bid heavily on a myriad of sports rights including the Big Ten Network, EPL Season (good lead-in for the 2018 World Cup) and the upcoming NBA rights”. Some have raised questions whether Fox Sports 1 would lose “credibility” if they started carrying sports entertainment such as pro-wrestling.