The WWE has performed Monday Night Raw for 25 years, but the show has always aired on basic cable networks. After starting out on the USA Network in 1993, it moved to TNN in 2000 and then back to the USA Network in 2005. However, the current WWE contract with NBCUniversal to air on the USA Network expires at the end of September, 2019, and there is now a chance that, for the first time in history, the WWE could air Monday Night Raw on regular network television. Sporting News reports that Fox has offered the WWE a deal to switch with the promise that Monday Night Raw would air on the Fox broadcast network.
The Fox Deal For The WWE
Sporting News reports that the deal Fox offered the WWE would allow Monday Night Raw to air live on the Fox broadcast network while SmackDown Live would air on Fox Sports 1. That is huge because every house in America could theoretically see Raw.
The USA Network is one of the top cable networks in America, with broadcastingcable.com reporting that over 94 million households get this network as of January, 2016. Fox Sports 1 has a household reach of over 84 million households, making the drop for SmackDown Live a concern.
However, the household estimate at that time was over 116 million households, making the jump that Monday Night Raw could make significant. However, this past Monday, Zap2It reported that 12.31 million people viewed The Voice on NBC, the most watched show of the night, while 3.18 million fans watched Lucifer on Fox.
On the other hand, Monday Night Raw was the most watched show on cable that night, with an average of 3.81 million viewers for the three hours. The next highest was Love and Hip Hop, with 1.797 million viewers. If more people watched Raw than all but three network shows this week (The Voice, The Bachelor and Kevin Can Wait), one might assume the viewers would go up exponentially if it moved to Fox.
The Future Of The WWE Television Deal
There is a fallout if Fox does convince the WWE to leave NBCUniversal and the USA Network. The most prominent loser could be the UFC. Right now, Sporting News reports that Fox pays $120 million a year to broadcast the UFC.
If Fox signs on with the WWE, they will inevitably drop their pursuit of a new UFC contract, as both the UFC and WWE are looking for over $400 million a year in their new deals. Sporting News reports that Fox sees more money in broadcasting the WWE than they would in keeping the UFC. Fox could also gain more content on Fox and Fox Sports 1 with the WWE.
WWE fans don’t have to wait long. The WWE said that they would reveal their new television partner between May and September of this year, so expect Fox and NBCUniversal to make some big moves now to try to secure the professional wrestling company.