There was a massive story broken this afternoon by ESPN’s Darren Rovell that Fox is going to pay WWE over $200 million per year for the next five years (that’s over $1 billion) starting in October 2019 when WWE”s current deal with USA Network comes to an end. Rovell noted in a tweet that it means that Smackdown will be on the main Fox network channel.
The amount of money that Fox is paying WWE has been reported at about $205 million per year according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The move to Fox also means Smackdown is going back to Friday nights, which was first reported by The Wrap. I assume that Smackdown will be a live show even though it will be a bit of a logistical pain in the ass for WWE. I doubt Fox is going to pay WWE 3x as much money as what USA Network paid them and then WWE is going to back to being a taped show for Smackdown. That just doesn’t make sense to me.
You may recall that last week when we reported on The Hollywood Reporter story that Raw was staying on USA Network and USA was passing on renewing Smackdown, that meant a bidding war was in place. Apparently, WWE likes what they heard from Fox and that’s where Smackdown is headed.
If you combine the two deals together with Raw rumored to be getting about $240 million per year from USA Network (that number was in the Wrestling Observer last week although it is not official) and Smackdown getting $205 million from Fox, that’s $445 million for just Raw and Smackdown per year over the next five years.
Please keep in mind that the announcement of the new deal is not official yet. There has been no comment from WWE yet.
For more of my thoughts, check out my exclusive article for The Comeback with Five Takeaways that come to mind after this deal was broken today.