This morning, WWE part of the TKO Group Holdings, INC and NBCUniversal announced that they have come to an agreement to a five-year domestic media rights partnership. SmackDown will come exclusively to NBCU as one of television’s longest-running programs, regularly rating as the No. 1 show in the 18-49 advertising demographic on Friday nights and featuring many WWE Superstars including John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Rey Mysterio.
The new partnership that will bring Friday Night SmackDown back to USA Network beginning October 2024. Additionally, beginning in the 2024/25 season; WWE will produce four primetime specials per year that will air on NBC. This marks the first time WWE will air on the network in primetime. “NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” said WWE President Nick Khan. “We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing SmackDown to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC.
As part of WWE and NBCUniversal’s longstanding relationship; USA Network is currently home to WWE NXT and WWE Monday Night Raw; which is the #2 cable entertainment program in 2023 in the 18-49 demo. Demonstrating the deeply engaged WWE audience on USA, WWE NXT (+27%) and WWE Monday Night Raw (+15%) are up double-digits year-over-year in the target demographic. WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE NXT will continue to air on USA Network through September 2024.
In addition, since 2021, Peacock has been the exclusive home of WWE Network in the U.S.. WWE continues to drive high engagement on the platform; with this April’s WrestleMania 39 livestream delivering a record-breaking weekend for Peacock as its highest weekend usage to-date.
Early reports are stating that the deal is roughly around 1.4 billion dollars. The timing of the deal is odd, as with the new influx of funding the company did announce roster releases. Also, another topic of discussion, will be with Monday Night RAW and NXT as it is reported that with SMACKDOWN on the USA Network, it will effectively bring an end to RAW and NXT on the network as some reports have noted.
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