Jonatha Coachman returned to WWE after WrestleMania 34 and took a seat on the commentary team for Monday Night Raw. The Coach spent nine years at ESPN in-between stints with Vince McMahon and Company but pro wrestling never left his radar.
Fox Sports agreed to a $1 billion five-year deal for WWE's SmackDown Live program. The deal is complete and Fox will start airing the Blue Brand's show on their flagship channel on Fridays starting in October 2019.
The Raw announcer recently appeared on Busted Open Radio. Coachman explained how WWE's television deal with Fox Sports can be credited to the work he did to help WWE gain mainstream exposure through ESPN.
"Three years ago, I get a call and [WWE was] like 'we really want to get on ESPN,'" Coachman said. "Not only because it was the right thing to do but they're like, 'can you help us?' Because other than the occasional Rock showing up for a movie promo there was no consistent content on any mainstream media. Because Vince and the executives at WWE knew that this day was coming.
"I knew 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, I pushed the envelope, and I got four other guys to help me and we called them 'Coach's Group.' We just got given credit by the president of the company to Wall Street for helping facilitate this Fox deal so they took our content that we did every single week on SportsCenter. Then we got stuff into SportsCenter every single week. They took that content they took it to Fox. They had meetings with ESPN and said listen, after the shock value of the few people who called in saying 'I can't believe they're having wrestling content on our beloved SportsCenter.' After that shock value wore off they came to it in droves."
Coachman said the work he did with ESPN still lives on to this day. Fox looked at the mainstream attention WWE was getting and proposed to take it to another level. Fox Sports plans to implement WWE in cross-over promotional tactics and WWE will have the already established Fox audience. There is also talk of bringing a WWE news show to FS1 akin to UFC Tonight.
"They started an entire website that still lives today. Because of that and I'm not saying it's the entire reason, but it's a big part of the reason that his billion-dollar deal was done. Because Fox executives looked at what we did at ESPN and said, 'imagine if you had a partner instead of just a platform.'
"That's why I'm so excited about what Fox can be and what we can do for the fans. We have an opportunity now to be with a huge company, a huge media company. They took what we did and said, 'we can make it bigger, we can make it better, and we can make it reach more fans the world over.'
"That's how it happened so when I read stories from certain people and you know who they are. They write stories as if they are fact but they are so off-base. That's when I had an issue with what was written and what we did. 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. That you cannot dispute, we got the deal done."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Busted Open Radio with a H/T to Wrestling Inc for the transcription
"Imagine what can happen when you have a partner instead of just a platform."#WWE #RAW Commentator @TheCoachrules on how ESPN & SportsCenter coverage helped facilitate the FOX $1 Billion deal for #SDLive pic.twitter.com/h6dHuZYXtx— SiriusXM Busted Open (@BustedOpenRadio) July 11, 2018