As part of a five-year domestic media rights agreement between TKO Group Holdings and NBCUniversal, WWE’s “Friday Night SmackDown” will return to USA Network in October 2024.
According to persons familiar with the situation who spoke to CNBC, the transaction has a total value of more than $1.4 billion and averages out to $287 million each year. WWE doesn’t anticipate reaching a rights agreement for its signature programme “Raw” until the following year.
Since October 2019, “SmackDown” has been broadcast by Fox under a five-year rights pact worth $205 million annually. The new arrangement represents about a 40% rise. From 2016 until 2019, “SmackDown” aired on USA Network for the final time.
Frances Berwick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment said, “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.”
He further adds,”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.”
After WWE and Endeavor’s UFC merged, TKO Group Holdings was formed, and WWE is a part of it. Last week, TKO started trading on the NYSE. Starting with the 2024–2025 season, WWE will also create four prime-time specials each year for NBC.