In the world of sports media, Nick Khan developed into a Scott Boras-type figure. At CAA, he wielded power throughout the industry and negotiated eye-popping deals, ranging from Mike Greenberg’s $6.5 million salary to being one of the negotiators at the center of the billion-dollar contracts, such as the SEC’s agreement with Disney/ABC/ESPN.
In August of last year, he left the agent game to become the president and chief revenue officer of WWE, where he is still doing media deals.
On Monday, he and NBC announced WWE Network and prized events, like Wrestlemania, will move to the streaming service Peacock for more than $1 billion over five years, as the Wall Street Journal first reported.
Since one of Khan’s skills is to spot trends and take advantage of them before others do, The Post caught up with him to see what he predicts is next in sports media.
With the NFL, Khan believes that Amazon could end up with “Thursday Night Football”, while the incumbent networks (Fox/CBS on Sunday afternoons, NBC on Sunday Night and ESPN on Mondays) keep their current TV packages.
“It feels like that is going to be the first time that a digital player gets an entire season package exclusively,” Khan said. “That is how it feels like it is playing out, but we will all see.”
As for broadcasters, Khan thinks where sports media is trending will greatly favor the folks at the top, while the middle will be squeezed.
“The Woj’s of the world, the Schefter’s of the World, Kirk Herbstreit, those guys are going to be more than great,” said Khan, mentioning three top CAA clients. “The 4th NBA news breaker, I’m not sure how that is going to look.”
As for leagues, he believes the same axiom applies — you don’t want to be a middle man.
“The upper tier are going to continue to succeed tremendously,” Khan said. “The lower tier of sports rights will also succeed at that level because people need content. The middle tier is who should be concerned. If you have seen the recent leadership change that was announced at the Pac-12 conference, that’s because the SEC and the Big 10 have lapped them in terms of media dollars. It is going to be great, as you know, for the NFL with their negotiations, which hopefully conclude soon. They’ll have no issues. I think it will be great for the NHL because that is an established product that seems to resonate, but, for the middle-tier, I think it is going to be a tough time.”
Khan’s focus now, of course, is on the WWE. With the Peacock deal, he thinks it has achieved the right combo. Khan likes the reach of Peacock, which is in around 25 million Comcast and Cox cable homes, and boasts 26 million direct-paying subscribers.
An issue for direct-to-consumer can be the limit it has to find potential new customers in a walled-off environment. WWE is on Fox and USA Network during the week, but now it can potentially have more people sample its product than before.
“As you said, if it is only on WWE Network and you are not a fan yet, why would you subscribe to that?” Khan said. “This gives a chance to win people over when it is right in front of them and the hope is there is a trickle down effect to Raw and SmackDown and ultimately to ticket sales, once that is happening again, merchandising, etc.”