Negotiations regarding new TV deals for AEW and WWE are far from straightforward.
On October 31st, Tony Khan revealed he will be making an “important” announcement on the November 1st edition of AEW Dynamite. While details about the announcement were nonexistent, there’s been a great deal of speculation about whether it could be connected to a new streaming deal.
However, according to a new report via Fightful Select, that isn’t the case, with the update noting there has been “no deal reached” between Warner Bros Discovery and AEW for Max. Furthermore, Fightful adds that WWE’s recent deal with NBCUniversal for SmackDown in 2024 could — albeit slightly tenuously — impact AEW’s negotiations.
NBCUniversal reportedly sees SmackDown as “football proof,” meaning they were eager to land the show. Although, sports could still have an impact on how everything shakes out.
WBD contacts confirmed they expect NBCUniversal and the USA Network to bid for rights to the NBA, which has been a staple of TNT schedules for years. This in turn could affect the budget for NBCU and USA to land Raw and NXT, especially as the NBA is expecting a huge increase in rights fees in 2025/2026.
Should WBD lose the NBA, that would have an impact on their rights budget.
Interestingly, as of a “few weeks ago” AEW and WBD were “unable to agree terms” on a new deal for TV rights, PPV rights, and the promotion’s library. This is despite the media conglomerate being happy with the AEW partnership.
Those at WBD noted that Tony Khan has a “particular value that he believes the AEW library is worth.”
WWE Landed Huge Multi-Year Deal For SmackDown
On September 21st it was announced that WWE SmackDown would be leaving FOX and heading to the USA Network in October 2024 in a deal worth around $1.4 billion. Despite this, the stock price for the TKO Group fell 12% following the news, as many had expected the deal to net the company an even more eyewatering sum.