Jonathan Coachman recently appeared Busted Open Radio to talk about various topics including WWE’s new billion dollar deal with Fox that will see SmackDown Live airing on the network in October of 2019. Here is what he had to say:
“Three years ago I get a call, and [WWE] is like ‘we really want to try and get on ESPN.’ Not only was it the right thing to do, but they were like ‘can you help us? Can you make this happen?’ Other than the occasional The Rock showing up for a movie promo, there was no consistent content on any mainstream media. Vince and the WWE executives knew this day was coming. I knew that if I wanted to do more than just ESPN, that this was a good way to help and to help facilitate. I got into fights and I pushed the envelope, and I got four other guys to help me—we called them ‘Coach’s Crew’—we just got given credit by the President of the company to Wall Street for helping facilitate this deal.
So they took our content that we did every single week on SportsCenter; we did a segment every single week, and we got stuffed into SportsCenter every single week. They took that content—they took it to FOX, they had meetings with ESPN—they said ‘listen, after the shock value of the few people that said ‘oh, I can’t believe there’s wrestling content on our beloved SportsCenter’—after that shock value wore off, they came to it in droves. They started an entire website that still lives today.
And because of that—and I’m not saying that’s the entire reason—but it’s a big part of the reason that this billion dollar deal was done. FOX executives looked at what we did at ESPN and said imagine what could happen if you had a partner instead of just a platform.
That’s why I’m so excited about what FOX can be, what we can do for the fans. We have an opportunity now to be with a huge company, a huge media company, and they took what we did and they said we can make it bigger, we can make it better, and we can make it reach more fans, the world over.
When I read stories from certain people—and you know who they are, Dave—and they write stories as if they are fact, and they are so off-base. That is when I had an issue with what was written and what we did. But, at the end of the day, I can’t get caught up in the mud because I need to focus on the deal we got done. And that you cannot dispute; we got the deal done.”
H/T to Wrestling Inc for the transcript quotes.