Variety has published a new article looking at WWE celebrating 25 years of Raw tonight amid doubt regarding the company’s future on television. As noted, WWE’s current deal with NBCUniversal expires next year, and other companies, including streaming services, are expected to bid for WWE rights in the coming months.
Potential suitors for WWE TV include FOX, and New Fox, a company centered on its broadcast stations, cable news and sports, making it a perfect potential home for WWE.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Triple H regarding the future of WWE television. “We are incredibly happy with our partnership with USA,” added Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief brand officer. “In terms of what the future might hold, I guess we’ll see, but we’ve been very, very happy and I hope NBC is happy as well.”
With WWE currently airing the Mixed Match Challenge series via Facebook Watch, the idea of WWE shifting its content away from TV and to a streaming service is becoming more and more of a possibility. According to sources, both Amazon and Facebook have signaled interest in bidding for “Raw” and “SmackDown” media rights.
But Triple H stressed the importance of WWE capitalizing on numerous forms of media, saying “wrestling has been on television since day one. Moving forward into the cable industry, one of the biggest things cable brought in as a ratings winner, globally, was professional wrestling. Vince turned it into a one-brand, global product and pioneered the pay-per-view industry, the OTT industry — it’s at the forefront of all those things.”
“We want to revolutionize the way content is consumed,” Stephanie McMahon added.
One future home for WWE Raw and Smackdown which can be ruled out for the time being is the WWE Network, as Stephanie McMahon had the following to say:
“We leverage a content ecosystem, so at the moment, it is absolutely relevant and necessary to have [our content]on linear platforms. It is still reaching a broad audience and it’s still our most profitable line of business. One piece doesn’t work without the other. Ultimately, would ‘Raw’ and ‘SmackDown’ go to the WWE Network? Maybe. But that’s certainly not where we are now.”