- WWE and Fox have reportedly agreed in principle to a deal for the broadcast rights of “SmackDown Live.”
- According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal is worth a whopping $US1 billion over five years, with Fox to take over the broadcast rights in October 2019.
- The move is a win for WWE beyond finances as the wrestling brand continues to crossover into a more mainstream media landscape.
The deal is a boon for the company, with The Hollywood Reporter claiming agreement is worth more than $US1 billion for five years – making it worth more than three times WWE’s current deal with NBCUniversal.
NBCUniversal, which currently airs both “SmackDown Live” and “Raw” on the USA network, is expected to focus on keeping the latter of the two shows as its Monday night programming.
WWE partnering with Fox is also a positive move for the brand as the wrestling company continues to work itself more and more into the mainstream, with recognisable stars Brock Lesnar and newly signed Ronda Rousey bringing new interest in the product.
With Fox already airing football and baseball – especially in October when the move is supposed to take place – the network is in a great position to push an advertising blitz to bring in new viewers as well as sports fans that may have lapsed in their wrestling fandom since childhood.
It’s not the only significant investment that Fox has recently made in live programming – the network agreed to pay $US3 billion for the rights to broadcast the much-maligned “Thursday Night Football” program for five seasons, in addition to its Sunday coverage of the sport.
“SmackDown” brings in the sixth largest cable audience in television according to The Hollywood Reporter, with an average of 2.59 million viewers a week so far in 2018. Depending on how Fox chooses to market and place the program, it could potentially contend with or surpass the ratings of “Raw” once the move is made.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.