WWE News: TV rights negotiations could lead to Raw return to original format
What's that story?
It is being reported that WWE's current USA Network contract runs out in 2019 and it seems that FOX holds a serious interest in picking up the show or purchasing the contact outright. This would mean that there would be major changes made to the current product which includes the show returning to its original two-hour run time.
In case you didn't know...
Monday Night Raw's original broadcast was just two hours long and it only changed to the current format back in July 2012. Since then many of the WWE Universe have commented on the fact that it should be changed back to the original format.
Whilst the USA Network has allowed this expansion to happen and carried WWE for a number of years, it seems that their contract with WWE is set to run out next year so a number of network companies are looking to take the shows on board.
Fox currently carries UFC and it is still yet to renew the current deal with the company, but it seems that this isn't much of a stumbling block for WWE especially given the news that WWE COO Triple H held a summit with the head of FOX News last year and this was said to have been productive.
The heart of the matter
The Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer is currently reporting that FOX is looking to make a deal with WWE when it comes to their TV rights in the coming years. This could either lead to WWE using this interest as a bargaining tool to force the USA Network into signing a new deal, which would mean that nothing would change after 2019, or WWE could look into what FOX could offer them.
Because of the 10 pm news cycle on FOX, it would mean that Raw would have to return to its original two hours runtime, something that the company have been looking at moving back to for a while. It would also allow the company to get more eyes on their product since FOX is seen as a much more traditional network than USA.
Moving forward, not a lot can happen since USA still own the TV rights until 2019 and they have the option to renew the contract if they want to. Although given that 205 Live seems to be failing and is expected to be cancelled before the end of the year, it would be a good enough reason for WWE to push for Raw to return to its original format.
SmackDown Live is becoming one of the most popular WWE shows because it is much easier for fans to watch with the time length it currently has. Raw isn't even three hours long, it's more like three hours and 15 minutes and it seems that it's too much for many fans to remain interested in throughout.
FOX can also offer WWE so much more exposure so they shouldn't take this interest lightly, even if it leads to nothing, this just shows how much attention wrestling is currently getting, which can only be a good thing for the business as a whole.
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