When Will WWE Begin Negotiating New TV Contracts? CEO Nick Khan Reveals Window

Khan said that WWE will begin pushing as football season takes off.

WWE's slow burn paradigm shift began on Tuesday morning. For the first time in the company's multi-decade history, the McMahon family does not have majority ownership of WWE, as Endeavor's purchase of the global leader in sports-entertainment has been finalized. As seen by the past five months of Monday Night Raw, WWE SmackDown and various premium live events, the on-screen product remains relatively unchanged by the corporate shifts. That said, WWE's new ownership could bring about significant switches when it comes to their televised products' homes. This time next fall, WWE's TV rights deals with USA Network (Raw, NXT) and FOX (SmackDown) expire.

While Endeavor does not have an exclusive broadcast partner, it is worth noting that its other sporting giant, UFC, has a televised relationship with ESPN that does not expire until 2025. UFC's deal with the Disney subsidiary sees the mixed martial arts product produce its pay-per-view events through streaming service ESPN+.

When Will WWE Begin TV Rights Negotiations?

(Photo: WWE)

With WWE's merger priority now in the rear view, all eyes are on the company's televised future.

Speaking to Sports Business Journal, WWE CEO Nick Khan noted that he expects to start pushing on TV rights negotiations as the football season progresses. The CFB and NFL seasons both kicked off earlier this month.

When it comes to how he will approach these negotiations, Khan pointed to the bidding wars for 21st Century Fox and Sky Group in the late 2010s.

"You've seen bidding wars between Comcast and Disney on things like the Fox assets, which ultimately went to Disney, and Sky, which ultimately went to Comcast," Khan said. "It does make one wonder how this might look down the road as both companies and as TKO enters into these negotiations. We think ratings, relevancy and revenue for both properties are off the charts, and, of course, we always want to grow that."

While Disney would appear to be the favorite considering its relationship with UFC, there's no guarantee that Dana White's cage fighting company is still on ESPN in the not-too-distant future.

"We have a great relationship with ESPN, love our relationship with them, and we have a year left until we can start our renewal," Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said this past March. "I think it's going to be a positive outcome for both parties but there's a lot of buyers out there."