WWE media rights are a hot topic of discussion as the preeminent wrestling company in the United States continues to boost its television ratings year-over-year. While the company will likely have many bidders for its flagship television shows, which include Monday Night Raw and NXT, we now know the future of Friday Night Smackdown.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal was the first to report Thursday that WWE’s Friday NightSmackDown will leave Fox in 2024 and return to the USA Network. The deal is over $1 billion for five years and it will begin Oct. 2024 at a 40% increase in rights according to Alex Sherman.
I’ve got rights details for WWE/Smackdown
Five year deal, $287m aav
That’s a 40 percent increase https://t.co/lln9AtEDj3
— Alex Sherman (@sherman4949) September 21, 2023
According to the release, beginning in the 2024/25 season, WWE will produce four primetime specials, per year which will air on NBC.
Here’s more from the release:
“NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” said WWE President Nick Khan. “We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing SmackDown to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC.”
“It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership,” said Frances Berwick, Chairman, NBCUniversal Entertainment. “With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase.”
USA Network is currently home to WWE NXT and WWE Monday Night Raw. WWE Smackdown had been on USA from 2016 to 2019 before it moved over to Fox, now it’s returning to its previous home.