WWE SmackDown to Make a Comeback on USA Network in 2024
In a surprising twist, WWE’s Friday night staple, “SmackDown,” is bidding farewell to Fox and heading back to its old stomping ground, USA Network. The ink is still drying on a five-year deal set to officially kick off in October 2024 and while the specific financial terms have been kept under wraps, this shakeup in the wrestling world is bound to make waves.
The Return to USA Network
The wrestling landscape is set for a seismic shift as “SmackDown” returns to the USA Network after a stint on Fox. This unexpected turn of events marks a significant change in WWE’s media rights package. For fans of bone-crunching action and larger-than-life personas, the upcoming move promises a fresh chapter in the wrestling saga.
Primetime Specials on NBC
As part of the new deal, NBC has pledged to produce four primetime specials each year, which will be broadcast on its network. These specials will likely be a treat for wrestling fans, featuring some of the most memorable moments and matchups from the WWE universe. It’s a bold move by NBC, and fans can’t wait to see what they have in store.
A Look Back
“SmackDown” has had its fair share of journeys. From 2016 to 2019, it called USA Network home before making a high-profile jump to Fox. Now, it’s coming full circle, returning to the USA Network. This rollercoaster ride of network changes reflects the evolving landscape of professional wrestling’s popularity and the constant quest for the perfect platform.
The Last Piece of the Puzzle
With “SmackDown” finding a new home, WWE has almost completed its media rights puzzle. The only remaining piece is “Monday Night Raw.” Often hailed as WWE’s crown jewel, “Raw” has been a Monday night staple in the USA for nearly two decades. The show’s enduring popularity has attracted interest from traditional TV networks and digital players.
The Future of “Monday Night Raw”
NBC Universal is discussing renewing its deal for “Monday Night Raw.” While the show’s Monday night slot has been a long-standing tradition, the changing landscape of sports rights due to cord-cutting trends means anything is possible. Disney and Amazon have entered the conversation, potentially opening the door for “Raw” to explore new horizons as part of a future deal.
Evaluating the Deal’s Value
Sources have disclosed that this groundbreaking deal is valued at approximately $1.4 billion, marking a substantial 40% increase over WWE’s previous arrangement with Fox. Despite this remarkable boost in value, Wall Street had a somewhat surprising reaction.
Shares of TKO, the newly formed holding company for WWE and the UFC, took a tumble, dropping by around 15% to close at $85.97. This dip in TKO’s stock comes shortly after the company’s initial public offering at $102 per share just over a week ago.
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