Ari Emanuel Claims That There Is A Lot Of Interest In WWE RAW And Touts A Flexible TV Schedule

Endeavor officially announced last month that it had completed the merger of the UFC and WWE to form TKO Group Holdings, which went public.

The week after the merger was completed, it was announced that TKO had signed a five-year agreement with WWE and NBCUniversal to leave FOX for a return to the USA Network with SmackDown in October 2024.

Endeavor and TKO CEO Ari Emanuel spoke about the deal at Bloomberg’s Screentime conference, boasting that they received a 40% increase in SmackDown’s TV rights. He also mentioned that their contract with NBCU to broadcast WWE PLE and its library on Peacock expires in 2026.

“So, you cannot undervalue the WWE and UFC for the following reasons: One, we do not have a season. One of the biggest issues that will happen with s-mods and networks is churn. We’re 52 weeks a year, right? And we’re flexible. You want us Thursday night? You want us Tuesday night? I don’t have any of those scheduling issues and that churn issue because we’re the full year. It’s so much different than any other sport because then people churn out. That’s one of the issues with sports. Not in a bad way… and then the package is over and then you leave. We do not have that. Our fans are loyal, they stick around and they move.”

NXT and Raw will remain on the USA Network until September 2024, but the rights to both shows are still up for grabs.

“I would say to you there’s plenty of interest in Raw right now. I know people are like, ‘NBC is out of the mix,’ and that’s why it went down. I think there’s three things that happened. One the reasons the stock is down is they thought Raw was the best package. I saw a 40 percent increase which was in line with expectations… Two, the P.F.L. situation and three, probably Vince (McMahon) in our deal, wanted to be able to put, at any point in time, his stock. He’s 78 years old. He’s been working at this for decades and decades so, I think those three back-to-back issues…”

Because SmackDown is returning to USA, the network is unlikely to renew the rights to Raw and NXT, as previously reported.

(H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription)