"WWE Friday Night SmackDown" WORCESTER – WWE star Sheamus lands consecutive chest blows to Gunther during their match on “WWE Friday Night SmackDown” at the DCU Center, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Wwesmackdown Tg 42

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.

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.

[Sports Buisness Journal]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.