WWE has reached an agreement with Fox to move SmackDown Live from USA Network to Fox, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports.
Fox will air SmackDown the main Fox broadcast channel and shift it from Tuesdays to Fridays, The Wrap’s Tony Maglio reports.
The deal is worth over $1 billion—$205 million per year for five years—The Hollywood Reporter’s Maris Guthrie reports. WWE’s current contract with NBC Universal for Raw and SmackDown is worth $180 million per year. A separate deal for the rights to broadcast Raw could be worth as much as $240 million annually.
The network switch is set to occur in October 2019. WWE’s current contract with NBC Universal to air Raw and SmackDown on USA expires on Sept. 30, 2019.
Fox had long been rumored to be interested in acquiring the rights to both of WWE’s flagship television programs. Dave Meltzer reported in his Wrestling Observer newsletter in January that Fox was offering WWE to air Raw on the main Fox broadcast channel and SmackDown on FS1.
It is possible Fox could also acquire the rights to Raw, though NBC is said to be highly interested in retaining the rights to WWE’s top-rated show. (Raw has attracted 3 million viewers per week so far this year, compared to 2.59 million for SmackDown, according to Rovell.)
SmackDown first hit the airwaves in April 1999 and has aired on NBC Universal networks (first Syfy and later USA) since 2010.