WWE’s “Friday Night SmackDown” will return to USA Network in October 2024 as part of a five-year domestic media rights partnership between TKO Group Holdings and NBCUniversal, the company said Thursday.
The deal comes out to an average of $287 million per year, a total value of over $1.4 billion, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. WWE does not expect to reach a rights agreement for its flagship show “Raw” until next year. NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News.
Smackdown was previously on Fox with a rights agreement for $205 million per year in a five-year deal. The new agreement is roughly a 40% increase.
Shares of TKO dropped more than 12% following the announcement.
WWE will also produce four primetime specials per year to air on NBC beginning in the 2024-2025 season.
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“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,” said Frances Berwick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment.
“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.”