Fox owner Rupert Murdoch reportedly told Stephanie McMahon, Paul "Triple H" Levesque, and other WWE executives that NBCU was "embarrassed" at a meeting to claim their rights on May 17 [SmackDown to acquire 21th Century Fox's headquarters in Manhattan, after The Hollywood Reporter .
In addition to Levesque and McMahon, WWE co-presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios attended the meeting. Other Fox executives present with Murdoch were Fox Networks CEO Peter Rice and executives from Fox Sports, Eric Shanks and Larry Jones. A photograph was projected in the conference room by Ronda Rousey and superimposed on Triple H in a fire engine of WrestleMania 34 overlaid with Fox Sports and FS1
At the time of the meeting, less than two weeks ago, The Hollywood Reporter noted that NBCU expected to retain the WWE television rights with a new $ 10 million business worth $ 10 million (although it was not specified, this number is unique per year). NBCU's exclusive negotiation window expired on May 16, and WWE and Fox agreed to a five-year contract for $ 1.025 billion to move SmackDown to Friday night on the transmission network. Fox, who ended the 2017-18 double-digit viewership and the coveted Adult 18-49 demo, is seeking to expand his coverage of sports and other live events.
Murdoch the WWE apparently said that Fox would completely embrace WWE and Air SmackDown promote each evening during their sports program and offer the WWE a weekly studio show on FS1. Murdoch's eldest son, Lachlan, told McMahon during a call at the end of the meeting that the partnership would "announce the marriage of the Murdochs and the McMahons, rebellious outsiders who had built media empires."
As I said, the deal proposal should be completed as expected, SmackDown will switch to Fox in October 2019. RAW will remain in the US network for $ 265 million a year, raising the total value of the deal over five years to $ 2.35 billion. It has been discovered that NBCU currently pays $ 130 million a year for RAW and SmackDown (which is below the $ 150 million that JP Morgan estimated NBCU would pay for the package).
Fox lost the television rights for UFC to ESPN, however, a former Fox employee told The Hollywood Reporter that they did not could sell brand
"We could not sell UFC at Fox," they said. "And wrestling is family friendly, and if you have wrestling, you can find cash, and I think it's a big win for Fox, it's a great compromise."
Doreen Hines contributed to this article.