SmackDown is headed back to USA Network in 2024.
The week after Endeavor formally announced that the merger between WWE and UFC to form TKO Group Holdings was completed, it was announced that WWE’s Friday Night SmackDown program is returning to USA Network in October 2024.
WWE and NBCUniversal reached a five-year agreement to bring SmackDown back to the platform. SmackDown has been airing on FOX since October 2019.
As the Q1 2024 Fox Corporation Earnings Conference Call was ongoing, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch was asked why the SmackDown broadcast rights were not renewed. He stated that based on their analysis, they were not hitting the advertising numbers due to the audience of WWE to make a return on their investment. FOX did not attribute enough retransmission revenue to WWE either so Murdoch said it made sense to move on. He added that WWE has been a great partner.
I think we’ve talked about this before but how we analyzed the WWE renewal and we look at all of our sports portfolios in the same way… Based on the analysis, (from) an advertising point of view, we were not hitting the advertising numbers due to the audience of WWE to make the return for our return on investment to be above the levels that we would accept. But also, we didn’t attribute enough significant retransmission revenue to the WWE either. So it made sense for us to move on from them. They’ve been a great partner for many years. But just quite simply, we’re very disciplined and the R.O.I. didn’t meet our disciplined parameters so, we wish them luck and we’ve moved on from them.
Endeavor and TKO CEO Ari Emanuel commented on SmackDown moving back to USA and the broadcast rights for Monday Night Raw being up in 2024. To read his remarks, head over to this link.
If the quote in this article is used, please credit the original source with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription.