— The Hollywood Reporter posted an article today that went in-depth into how Fox acquired the rights to WWE Smackdown, leaving the USA Network to retain Raw.
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— According to the story, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and other WWE executives met with FOX leaders on May 17 in the morning where the broadcast company pitched an alliance between the two companies. FOX patriarch Rupert Murdoch was said to be a key figure in helping the two sides come to an agreement, by flat out suggesting to WWE that the USA Network was “embarrassed” of their product whereas Fox was eager to have them as part of their overall strategy of featuring live sports events.
— NBCUniversal – the parent company of the USA Network – was hoping to keep both Raw and Smackdown in a new ten-year deal for $360 million per year but let their exclusive negotiating window for Smackdown expire on May 16, effectively concluding that they would let the show hit the open market and soon after that, Fox swooped in.
— It’s also interesting to note that NBCUniversal had built into their current WWE contract the right to match any offer worth $200 million (or less) annually which is why Fox came in with their $205 annual offer, pretty much preventing NBCUniversal from changing their mind.
— As noted before, along with all that cash, Fox has promised WWE extensive promotion and advertising on their other sports telecasts – including NFL and MLB – and the Murdoch family has also pushed a sort of “marriage” between their family and the McMahons.
— WWE Raw is expected to stay on the USA Network in a reported deal for $265 million over five years. Doing the numbers, both deals combined come out to $470 million per year (or a grand total of $2.35 billion over the five years) – a substantial increase over the $130 million annually that NBCUniversal is currently paying for both shows.