The landscape of professional wrestling’s presence on television is seeing a significant shift as WWE’s NXT prepares to make a monumental leap to The CW Network in October 2024. This strategic move comes with a hefty financial upgrade, reportedly more than doubling the current $15 million per year received from USA Network, as disclosed by Deadline. The revelation of this boon came during a recent investor’s call, where TKO Group CEO Ari Emanuel highlighted a staggering 70% average annual value increase for NXT’s new media rights deal.
Inside sources, including PWInsider’s Mike Johnson, have shed light on the financials, estimating a value around $37 million per year and providing further insight into WWE’s vision for the partnership with The CW. Excitement is brewing within the WWE corridors, as officials view this as a golden opportunity to showcase their rising stars to a broader audience, helping to establish NXT as a more autonomous brand—akin to the stature of RAW and SmackDown.
Live broadcasts will remain the norm for NXT’s weekly dosage of high-octane wrestling action, although the flexibility to pre-tape episodes, if necessary, will be retained. The current plan is to continue airing NXT on Tuesday nights, but WWE remains adaptable, willing to shift nights to align with The CW’s scheduling needs.
The WWE Performance Center stands to continue its role as the central hub for NXT productions. However, this new partnership opens the doors to potentially holding tapings in various locations or even considering touring for weekly shows, providing the financials align favorably for WWE’s growth strategies.
As for WWE’s Premium Live Events (PLE), sources close to the situation indicate that they are expected to maintain their presence on WWE Network/Peacock and traditional pay-per-view channels, without airing on The CW.
This deal with The CW seemingly overshadowed other negotiations, with information emerging that in-depth discussions took place between The CW and Dave Marquez’s United Wrestling Network. Those talks waned in the face of WWE’s assertive entrance into negotiations, roughly a month and a half ago.
Regarding the persistent rumors of NWA’s potential television deal with The CW, Mike Johnson reports a notable lack of confirmation from both NWA and network representatives. In an intriguing turn, many within the NWA infrastructure reportedly believe that WWE’s deal should not derail their own conversations with the network, indicating that talks are far from terminated.
According to sources from Fightful Select, WWE’s successful courtship of The CW had been ongoing for several months, debunking the notion that it was a reactionary move against NWA’s alleged deal. Representatives within WWE expressed that the negotiations reached a swift conclusion, with one insider voicing their satisfaction regarding the conditions of the agreement.
As WWE and The CW embrace this significant rights fee increase and the promising expansion of their audience base, they also convey optimism about NXT’s content. The consensus holds that the programming will remain very similar to its current form on USA Network, which has seen a satisfying uptick in viewership—thanks, in part, to the incorporation of main roster talents.
Meanwhile, the NWA locker room responds with a mix of surprise and blindsided sentiment upon learning about WWE’s coup with The CW. Nonetheless, those within WWE circles remain skeptical about the likelihood of the NWA striking a deal now that NXT has secured its spot on the network.
Stay tuned for further developments as the WWE continues to navigate its NXT brand successfully on the evolving television scene, promising to bring more action-packed wrestling content to an even wider audience.