It is being speculated that WWE is set to announce a new partnership with Fox to move SmackDown Live from NBCUniversal and the USA Networks to Fox and with it will come transitioning viewers to a new channel on a new night. That might be challenging for some companies but WWE has done this before and with their strong presence on social media and their digital reach, telling fans to move from Tuesdays to Fridays shouldn’t be that tricky. Even if it is, it will be worth their troubles as Fox is reportedly paying more than $1 billion for the show.
The auction that has been different networks bidding on WWE programming has been going on for months and with the news, WWE stock has reached new highs. Today, it shot up another $5 per share or with the rumors that Fox was paying around $205 million per year on a five-year deal to obtain the rights to WWE’s blue brand show and The Hollywood Reporter reports that this five-year agreement is going to fall short of what NBCUniversal is paying to keep Raw on Mondays and on their network. This amount is more than three times what NBCUniversal was paying and it’s great news for WWE who is going to announce huge gains on their television rights deals.
It is also being reported that another offer even larger than this one came in from another network and WWE chose Fox instead due to the network’s ability to cross-promote on their other sports shows including NFL and MLB. These new deals are set to kick in for September 2019, but they will be announced publicly much sooner than that.
According to TheWrap, this deal will also move SmackDown Live to Fridays. Right now the show averages about 2.59 million viewers a week and is the sixth most-watched original program on cable television. It will be interesting to see if this move to Fridays is a permanent idea and if Fox has a plan for a lead-in or show that will follow afterward. Right now network airs from 8-8:30: “Last Man Standing”, from 8:30-9: “The Cool Kids”, and from 9-10: “Hell’s Kitchen”. The Wrap is suggesting that should those series return for the 2019-2020 season, they’ll need to find a new night.