Steve Tomsic speaks about how the perspective FOX’s lengthier rights deals gives them when it comes to existing renewals.
WWE’s exclusive TV rights deals with NBC (USA Network) for Monday Night Raw and FOX (Friday Night SmackDown) are up in late 2024. With the WWE-UFC merger being completed to form TKO Group Holdings, rights renewals have been a topic of conversation in interviews with TKO and WWE executives.
At the BofA media conference (via Brandon Thurston), FOX’s Chief Financial Officer, Steve Tomsic, was asked about a rights renewal for SmackDown. He did not want to comment on WWE specifically, but focused his talking point on the sports side of their portfolio.
He stated that they are focused on getting long-term extensions on foundational rights such as what they have with the NFL. The rights that take FOX into the latter half of this decade allows them to be clinical in the way they look at renewing existing rights.
So I won’t comment specifically on WWE but, let me give you some color on sports. So, for us, we think we’re well spent in terms of overall portfolio spend on sports rights. We have, over the course of the last four years — a touch longer actually — we’ve been really, really focused on getting long-term extensions on what we call foundational rights, and none of them more emblematic than the long-term extension we’ve got for the NFL but if you look at NFL, MLB, college, we have a bedrock of rights that take us to the latter part of this decade and into the next decade that we feel really good about, and that is a really, really significant platform that affords us what I would say — we’re always disciplined about all of our rights and all of our rights have to pay their own way, but it allows us to be sort of, I guess much more clinical in the way we look at renewing existing rights or looking at new rights that we want to sort of acquire for the portfolio and so we’ll take a really, really… as I said, clinical look at the renewal of rights that we have on the slate at the moment and determine the value that they deliver to us both from an advertising perspective and the impact that they have in terms of incremental affiliate revenue versus what the rights owner expects to receive in terms of rights costs and we’ll make that mathematical equation and be super disciplined about it.
Check out the latest episode of Pollock x Thurston for a discussion about the merger being completed and the media appearances from TKO/WWE executives.
If the quote in this article is used, please credit the original source with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription.