Disney Could Still Acquire WWE in Blockbuster Deal

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Mickey Mouse with his hands on his suspenders, Vince McMahon from WWE smelling money and smiling

Credit: Disney, WWE

Despite already being sold to UFC and forming a conglomerate with the company, the WWE is still in talks with the Walt Disney Company to work out a television deal.

Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy sitting in a crowd watching professional wrestling
Credit: Disney

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Without a doubt, the Walt Disney Company is the largest entertainment and media company in the world. While they are most recognized for their animated classics and top-rated theme parks like Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, Disney has made even more news in recent years for acquiring pop culture staples. This includes Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, ESPN, and 20th Century Fox.

Another massive company that Disney tried to acquire is World Wrestling Entertainment, also known as WWE. WWE is a massive company that has influence around the world, is constantly creating superstars like Hulk Hogan, and almost holds a monopoly on the professional wrestling business. While it may seem that the popularity of professional wrestling has “died,” it is actually more successful than ever.

Mickey Mouse being pushed forward by Goofy to wrestle Pete
Credit: Disney

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Unfortunately, the plans fell through, and WWE instead made a deal with UFC, creating a conglomerate known as TKO Group Holdings. However, that doesn’t mean Disney is entirely out of the game just yet because the television rights to one of the WWE’s most popular shows could be up for grabs. And Disney is a frontrunner to buy them.

Disney is a Frontrunner to Purchase the Television Rights to WWE

Credit: WWE

Currently, WWE has some of the most consistently popular shows on television: WWE Monday Night RAW (1993-present), WWE NXT (2010-present), and WWE SmackDown! (1999-present). The first two shows currently appear on the USA channel. Meanwhile, SmackDown! appears on FOX.

However, WWE is expected to ask for $300 million for the details when they renew at the end of the year, a price tag FOX most likely cannot afford. According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer, the two companies that are willing to pay that much are Disney and Amazon. And the House of Mouse is the clear winner between the two.

“There’s a feeling that FOX is not going to go for the 300, which is what WWE is trying to get out of Smackdown or more, and that Disney and Amazon are probably the two companies most in contention for it. And if it’s Disney, I brought up ABC or probably FX.”

Mickey Mouse in his 50th anniversary garb, the now defunct WWE Network logo
Credit: Disney, WWE

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Meltzer continued, “It’s not out of the realm of possibility that it could be on ABC, but ABC on Fridays, they have had 20/20 (1978) and Shark Tank (2009-present), which is actually a pretty highly rated show… When it comes to Friday night network television, for them to necessarily make that change, I hadn’t really heard people talking about it on ABC, just the possibility that it could be. The other thing, too, is they could change nights.”

Especially after reaching an agreement with Charter, Disney has a much more significant cable presence than Amazon will ever have. While ABC does seem like a tough place for SmackDown! to succeed, FX would make a perfect home on Friday nights.

Why This is a Good Idea for Both Companies

Mickey Mouse pinning Pete in a wrestling ring as Donald Duck and Goofy watchDisney
Credit: Disney

While it may seem strange for Disney to make a move after WWE has already been bought, it still makes sense for both companies to work together for various reasons. For starters, WWE is one of the most popular sports brands in the world. While it is scripted and technically “sports entertainment,” the wrestlers perform year-round, while other sports leagues, like the NFL or NBA, are seasonal. The money coming in from WWE is much more consistent.

On top of that, the WWE has already created numerous Hollywood superstars, many of whom have worked on projects for Disney or studios that fall under their corporate umbrella. This includes Dwayne Johnson, Dave Bautista, and John Cena, and soon will consist of Becky Lynch and current WWE Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. With both companies working together, figuring out schedules and payment will be much easier.

WWE Wrestlers who have/will appear in Disney-related filmsDave Bautista holding up the Heavyweight Championship, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch with the Raw Men and Women's Championships, Dwayne Johnson holding the Intercontinental Championship
Credit: WWE

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Finally, there are the streaming rights. Currently, every WWE Pay Per View (PPV) or Premium Live Event (PLE) that have ever occurred are located on Peacock, the streaming service run by Disney’s most prominent competitor: NBC Universal. But just like with FOX, the streaming rights are now up for grabs in 2024. Disney could easily strike a deal with WWE, bringing the wrestling promotion and their PLEs to Hulu or even Disney+.

Surprisingly, Disney working with WWE just makes sense. Not only could this mean a massive pay increase for both companies, but it could cause massive damage to both organizations’ competitors. If negotiations are successful, we could be looking at one of the most powerful tag teams in entertainment history.

Do you think Disney should purchase the television rights to WWE? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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