There’s no arguing that The Walt Disney Company is a massive media entertainment entity with an exceptionally wide reach. There, of course, are the theme parks, cruise line, and Disney Plus streaming service, but there are dozens more offerings that fall under the company’s umbrella. Some other subsidiaries include Marvel, Hulu, ABC, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, ESPN, A+E Networks, Hollywood Records, Fox Entertainment Group, and even more.
Now, Disney is in talks to potentially take over another realm of the entertainment community, the WWE. World Wrestling Entertainment seems like the newest conquest for Mickey Mouse‘s media collection since their contract with Fox and Comcast will expire in just over a year. Cageside Seats, a news source for Pro Wrestling and MMA fans, reported that the CEO of WWE, Nick Khan, is pushing to maximize the media rights for the shows Raw and SmackDown.
Raw and SmackDown are both flagship WWE shows that currently air weekly on the USA Network and Fox, respectively. They feature professional wrestlers competing. Raw has aired since 1993, and SmackDown started in 1999, making them some of the longest-running weekly episodic television programs in history.
The window for negotiating for these shows has expired with other companies and has now gone to the open market. Currently, Amazon Prime Video is also interested in obtaining WWE content to complement its current NFL offerings possibly. Less likely, but still possible, competitors for Disney are Apple and Warner Bros Discovery.
Wrestling Inc. notes that if obtained, Disney isn’t looking to make the WWE shows a part of its ESPN offerings. Instead, “Disney reportedly wants to pair the company up with the FX network.” This would keep the WWE content from getting bumped to a lower priority than traditional sports. Wrestling can’t be guaranteed a specific night of the week, with mainstream sports constantly shifting playing schedules.
It’s likely that Fox and Comcast will end up retaining their rights to the WWE shows even though their exclusive negotiation window has expired. But maybe Disney can offer the WWE what they’re looking for first!
Disney CEO Bob Iger has not commented.