UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that WWE’s deal with Fox is a five-year agreement that is worth $205 million per year.
They also noted that WWE is said to have gotten an even higher bid for SmackDown that wasn’t from NBC Universal or Fox, but “WWE executives are said to have embraced Fox’s commitment to heavily promote SmackDown across a robust sports portfolio that includes the NFL and Major League Baseball.” Facebook and Amazon had been mentioned as possible destinations for the show.
WWE stock is currently above $57 per share, which is an 11 percent increase on the day.
It appears that the second shoe has dropped in WWE television rights negotiations.
Following last week’s Hollywood Reporter story on the USA Network retaining Raw but letting SmackDown go up for bidding, ESPN sports business analyst Darren Rovell reported today that WWE and Fox have agreed in principle on a deal for Fox to become the new home of SmackDown. Exact financial numbers weren’t immediately disclosed, but Rovell wrote that sources described Fox’s offer as “massive.”
The Wrap also reported on the deal, adding that SmackDown will begin airing on Fox’s main broadcast channel in the fall of 2019 and will be moved to Friday nights when that happens. SmackDown previously aired on Fridays in a taped format for much of its history.
Officials from WWE and Fox have not commented on the reports.
In the most recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer wrote that the USA Network/NBC Universal paying as much as three times more for Raw than they did in the previous deal, as the Hollywood Reporter claimed, would mean that WWE would be getting around $240 million annually for Raw alone and that analysts had been expecting $240-300 million for Raw and SmackDown together.