WWE Had Talks With ESPN for SmackDown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule - Wrestling Forum: WWE, AEW, New Japan, Indy Wrestling, Women of Wrestling Forums

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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WWE Had Talks With ESPN for SmackDown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

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– While Smackdown Live is moving to the FOX Network later this fall, another broadcasting partner that didn’t pan out was actually none other than ESPN. The Wrap published a new report by Tony Maglio today, where ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus revealed that the network actually had talks with WWE to bring Smackdown Live to ESPN. However, the deal ultimately did not move forward.

Per Magnus, ESPN took a “hard look” at bringing Smackdown Live to ESPN, but they couldn’t make it fit into ESPN’s current schedule. Magnus stated, “We did talk to WWE during their process some months ago. Took a hard look at it, we’re obviously big fans of them. We just went into business with them on the XFL indirectly. But we couldn’t find a fit for it, primarily based on schedule.”

He added, “As you know, those properties are 52 weeks a year live. And I’m proud to say we have a pretty good problem, which is that we can’t clear anything 52 weeks a year live. We have a pretty full portfolio of content as it is.”

Magnus denied that ESPN tried to discuss an offseason with WWE to make Smackdown Live work on the current network programming schedule. He stated, “Not specifically that, but we looked at all kinds of conversations to try and make it fit. It just didn’t work. We parted ways and they got a good deal with their new partners, continuing at NBC(Universal’s USA Network) and adding Fox. So all’s well that ends well for them — but we gave it a good try.”

ESPN is already the current broadcast partner with the UFC, showing live events on ESPN and ESPN+. ESPN+ is also the exclusive pay-per-view destination for UFC now. Per Magnus, Smackdown Live joining ESPN would’ve been “in addition” to the UFC broadcast deal.

Additionally, Magnus said that ESPN did not have any sort of TV negotiations with All Elite Wrestling (AEW). On the subject, he stated, “They did not come to us.” As noted, an AEW TV deal is reportedly slated to take place this week at the WarnerMedia Upfronts set for May 15. If you’d like to know more on that rumored TV deal, you can check out 411’s exclusive interview with Tony Maglio RIGHT HERE.

FOX is set to pay WWE in the amount of nearly $1 billion for a five-year deal for Smackdown Live.
Source: https://411mania.com/wrestling/wwe-e...own-live-deal/



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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 01:44 PM
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for Smackdown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

This would have worsened the product even more if that is possible.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 01:47 PM
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for Smackdown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

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This would have worsened the product even more if that is possible.
Really? I think their idea of an off season could fix about 75% of WWE's problems.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:09 PM
 
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for Smackdown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

They've got room for the UFC, but not WWE

UFC > WWE
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:14 PM
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for Smackdown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

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Really? I think their idea of an off season could fix about 75% of WWE's problems.
ESPN ownership is about as left wing as you can go. I know there isn't an edge left to the product really, but anything remaining would be completely destroyed. I'm not being political at ALL, but ESPN is blatant about how PC they keep their programming.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:16 PM
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for Smackdown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

ESPN needs 95% of their schedule dedicated to deepthroating the NFL and Lebron James

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:44 PM
 
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for Smackdown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

As someone who follows ESPN too, WWE dodged a massive bullet there imo. Way more than meets Vince's dollar-sign eyes with being on "The Worldwide Leader."

It's well known that ESPN in recent years way overextended on tv deals and personality contracts, leading to a current scorched earth cost-cutting spree. WWE on ESPN would feel those effects immediately. Many of the former cornerstones who have left/been forced out note how much Disney has ESPN by the balls these days, which would completely dull any ability WWE has to be edgy for the duration of the deal. Furthermore, whereas apparently USA has historically solidly backed WWE well, Vince's ego and Disney's infamous micromanaging would be a match made in hell. One of the primary problems I could foresee is a power struggle over WWE personnel with ESPN personnel and the plethora of problems associated with that. In particular, I could see WWE on ESPN essentially becoming another Stephen A Smith Show over time.

Albeit times have changed, let us also not forget how awful the dying days of the AWA while on ESPN were.



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Last edited by WrestlingOracle; 05-14-2019 at 02:46 PM.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 07:44 PM
 
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for Smackdown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

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Originally Posted by The Doctor Middy Experience View Post
ESPN needs 95% of their schedule dedicated to deepthroating the NFL and Lebron James
Um, excuse me, you forgot Zion Williamson.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 08:39 PM
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for SmackDown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

I would pay good money to have been able to see Vince's face when ESPN tried to pitch an off season.

Don’t meddle.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 11:16 PM
 
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Re: WWE Had Talks With ESPN for SmackDown Live, ESPN Couldn’t Make It Fit the Schedule

The inside reporting was that ESPN was talking to WWE during the time when they had no president. Then Pitaro came in, heard they were courting WWE and said absolutely not. Besides, when they were looking at WWE it was supposedly for ESPN+ and not the network. So why would the schedule be a problem? Something isn’t right about this story.
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