As we noted moments ago, WWE has inked a deal with FOX which will see Smackdown Live move to Friday nights on the Network beginning in October of 2019.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new deal will be for five years and will be worth more than $1 billion, which will be a three-fold increase over what NBCUniversal is currently paying WWE to air Smackdown Live on USA Network.
The report points out FOX’s pivot to new programming following the announcement of Disney acquiring much of 21st Century FOX’s assets. FOX will be rolling out what is being called “New Fox”, and it will include Fox broadcast network and owned stations, Fox News and Fox Sports, which includes cable nets FS1 and FS2 as well as the Big Ten Network.
The report notes there remains no word on how the new WWE deal with FOX might affect FOX’s ongoing decision as to whether or not they will be renewing the rights to UFC’s TV deal, which expires at the end of this year.
As noted, NBCUniversal, which currently airs both Smackdown and Raw on USA Network, is expected to make WWE another massive money offer to retain the TV rights to Raw, keeping the show in its Monday night, three-hour time slot on USA Network.