WWE Apr 2, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman during Wrestlemania Night 2 at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Five years ago, WWE signed a landmark and lucrative television deal. The preeminent wrestling promotion inked deals worth $1 billion with both NBC Universal and Fox to air Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, respectively.

After 2024, those deals are set to expire. The negotiating period for WWE and its newest media rights deal looms ahead. With several suitors around, it might be worth wondering who’s a serious contender or not to land them. This brings us to the Worldwide Leader, ESPN.

The four-letter network and WWE have had an interesting dynamic over the last decade. ESPN has promoted and published many works for WWE on ESPN.com and several of its television programs. Before WrestleMania 39, WWE and ESPN teamed together to use First Take to announce the match cards for both nights of the mega-event. That’s to say nothing of what the star of First Take thinks of WWE and what he wants his involvement to be.

Additionally, WWE just sold to Endeavor Media. Endeavor is no stranger to ESPN. The network has offered significant features to UFC, which Endeavor also owns. They regularly broadcast Fight Night events on ESPN+, among a variety of podcasts, promotions, and shows.

So, you wonder, is ESPN a potential player for WWE then? New York Post sports media reporter Andrew Marchand discussed the possibility that the network could be a home for the top wrestling company in America. Marchand spoke about it on the latest episode of The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast.

“I do think this puts ESPN and Disney even more in play,” Marchand said regarding whether the Endeavor deal would lead to the company landing on ESPN. He noted that he doesn’t view WWE as being a “problem” for ESPN or Disney, considering the UFC integration.

“And I just think, the relationships that are there, I think I could see that potentially WWE ending up – at least in some form, probably in multiple partners like they have now, but in some form on ESPN,” he said.

WWE’s deal with Endeavor doesn’t necessarily let them be beholden to just one media company or conglomerate. Comcast was a potential buyer for the company as they and WWE have had a three-decades-long relationship. But since they moved to Endeavor, the company has a real pick of the litter. It’s not the “wholesome family” operation anymore, obviously, so it’s fascinating to think about them potentially landing in a few places. Including ESPN, which would be the network’s first real foray into wrestling since the AWA days.

[SBJ, Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022