Triple Z discusses WWE's TV deal for SmackDown Live which is $205 million for five years. WWE's stock price currently sits at $56.87 a share.
Bidding for streaming rights are at an all time high. Especially ones connected to live sports. Not to mention we are currently in a era of content. Networks and different media giants are battling for viewers. WWE has a gigantic audience and it has been regulated to networks like TNN (Spike) and USA. SmackDown has bounced around quite a bit. Now SmackDown Live will be making the transition to broadcast TV.
WWE's contract with NBCUniversal is set to expire in 2019. The two brands of RAW and SmackDown are going to be split once again. USA Network is planning to keep WWE RAW, one of its flagship shows. They will be paying WWE "three times the current value." SmackDown ended up making out like gangbusters. Especially for being consider the B show.
FOX has been interested in WWE for a long time. There name has popped up multiple times while discussing WWE's television deal. So they finally were able to pull off a deal for SmackDown. Fox is planning to promote SmackDown between their NFL and MLB coverage. Right now SmackDown is averaging 2.5 million viewers this year. RAW is averaging 3 million viewers. Those ratings are good for television standards especially in a increasingly digital world. The ratings for SmackDown should translate to Friday nights on FOX. Although Fridays are typically the graveyard for television shows. Putting live wrestling on Friday nights is smart for Fox. It fills the 8-10pm slot all year. That slot is usually terrible for scripted dramas or comedies. It's still a billion dollar gamble so Fox will have to promote it heavily. SmackDown boasts the sixth biggest audience on cable. Something that WWE brought up in negotiations.
SmackDown will have the legitimate chance to top RAW. Both in quality and in value. Later this year SmackDown will be celebrating 1,000 episodes. A truly historic feat that RAW reached earlier. The brand rivalry would only intensify. Now the question will be if WWE moves valuable stars like Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey to SmackDown at the request of Fox. Bigger network with deeper pockets will change the typical WWE routine.
Other questions to consider while looking at this deal.
Vince McMahon is continuing his quest to do what's best for business. He still has sights on the rebirth of the XFL. Is he trying to raise the value of WWE for a potential sale? Doubtful but anything is possible.
The SmackDown to Fox deal is a game changer both for the fans and for the ones in suits. It solidifies pro wrestling in 2018. Not to mention does the unthinkable with WWE being on broadcast TV. Something that hasn't been done since Tribute to the Troops or Saturday Night's Main Event. It also could signal the happy relationship between WWE and NBCUniversal. Although RAW will still air on USA. You have to believe that NBCUniversal is upset the expensive SmackDown got away. SmackDown will be a fun follow for the rest of 2018. In 2019, Friday Night SmackDown will return. The blue brand may ascend to the top of WWE once again. Resurrecting the glory days. Now go buy some WWE stock (or don't it might've peaked).
Creator of ZWrestleTalk. This page I give you my thoughts on the current state of the WWE product. I look back at the history of WWE. Sometimes even predict the future. If your lucky you get comedic articles too.