A five-year domestic media rights arrangement between WWE, a division of TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO), and NBCUniversal has been reached. As of October 2024, Friday Night SmackDown will once again air on the USA Network. Furthermore, starting with the 2024–25 season, WWE will create four primetime specials each year that will show on NBC, making it the first time WWE will appear on the network during primetime.
As Wells Fargo had previously projected, WWE SmackDown will leave Fox next year and return to the USA Network. One of the longest-running television shows, SmackDown, will be available only on NBCUniversal. It usually ranks as the No. 1 program in the 18-49 advertising demographic on Friday nights and features prominent WWE Superstars, like Roman Reigns, John Cena, LA Knight, Bayley, etc.
WWE announces new 5-year U.S. TV deal with NBCU that will return Smackdown to USA Network beginning October 2024.
TKO press release:
“[B]eginning in the 2024/25 season, WWE will produce four primetime specials per year that will air on NBC, marking the first time WWE will air on… pic.twitter.com/2K3h52uQ1E
— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) September 21, 2023
WWE Monday Night RAW will be the second-best-rated cable entertainment program in the 18-49 demographic in 2023. NXT and RAW are up double-digits year-over-year in the target demographic, demonstrating the intensely growing WWE audience in the USA. Through September 2024, USA Network will carry Monday Night Raw and NXT.
Furthermore, Peacock has hosted the WWE Network exclusively in the United States since 2021. Peacock subscribers can stream thousands of hours of on-demand content from WWE, including original series, ground-breaking documentaries, fan favorites from the WWE archives, and premium live events like WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and Royal Rumble.
As per reports, WWE’s contract has a total value of more than $1.4 billion or an average annual value of $287 million. WWE doesn’t anticipate coming to a deal on the rights to its flagship program, ‘RAW’, until the following year. The parent company of NBC News is NBCUniversal.
Wade Keller of PWTorch reports that the overall value of AEW’s new contract with Warner Bros. Discovery will be $1.2 billion after five years, or about $240 million each year. The arrangement will earn All Elite Wrestling an average of $4.6 million per week.
Max and AEW are in discussions to sign the agreement soon. According to the most recent information, the deal has not yet been verified. Currently, if we contrast the contract figures of WWE and AEW, WWE’s network is more expensive.
How much does AEW earn from the television rights deal?
AEW presently makes about $44 million a year from WBD, according to Fightful Select. This agreement was finalized in 2019 and was signed before WarnerMedia and Discovery merged. It resulted in speculation about AEW’s television future earlier this year.
According to Fightful, AEW and WBD have been “extremely collaborative and open to input from one another,” and as per reports, wrestling interest has seen a “huge rebound year” in 2022.
The potential AEW and Max streaming agreement has received an update in the wake of the advent of live sports. In the days leading up to AEW All In, there were reports and rumors speculating about the prospect of the event and All Elite Wrestling as a whole airing on the brand-new Max streaming service.
Max is adding a live sports tier to their service, which will be branded as Bleacher Report.
It will be an additional $10, and will be at no extra charge for Max subs through the February 2024 promo period.
SBJ says AEW will not be a part of this as of now pic.twitter.com/Rgpv4p8OOd
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) September 19, 2023
The new layer will be known as ‘Bleacher Report Sports Add-On’ or ‘B/R Sports’. According to the Sports Business Journal, Bleacher Report Sports Add-On will not currently include AEW. However, the report suggests that AEW will be signing a potential contract with MaX by 2024.