Rumored ESPN/NBCU deal for UFC can clear path for WWE to move to FOX
Earlier this week, sports blogger Terez Owens posted a story saying that ESPN and NBCUniversal will be acquiring the rights of UFC from FOX, which if true can have major implications on WWE’s upcoming television deal.
The alleged deal is worth $320 million per year with ESPN and NBCUniversal paying for production for UFC shows, with a decrease in UFC pay-per-views in return of more shows on the two networks throughout the year. Officials from ESPN, NBCU, and UFC’s parent company WME all declined to comment.
A move for the UFC from FOX to ESPN and NBCU will clear the path for WWE to move its properties to FOX as NBCU is unlikely to afford both WWE and UFC programming. This would end WWE’s relationship with USA Network, which has been the home of Raw since 1993 apart from five years between 2000 and 2005.
FOX executives have been ringside at some shows lately and some of their TV and radio personalities alluded that WWE is moving to their network come fall 2019.
NBCUniversal has the right to match any offer for WWE programming to keep it on its network in the current television negotiations.