FOX CEO Explains Why They Didn't Renew WWE SmackDown Rights

FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch explains why the network didn't keep the rights for WWE SmackDown.

FOX CEO Explains Why They Didn't Renew WWE SmackDown Rights

WWE recently announced that SmackDown will be moving to USA Network in 2024 once their deal with FOX ends in the fall. It wasn't clear before why they didn't stick with FOX, even though WWE and NBCUniversal have a long history. However, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch has now explained the reason for the change. He mentioned during a FOX earnings call that the network didn't make as much money from advertising with WWE because of the size of the WWE audience.

FOX also couldn't make as much money from SmackDown by charging cable and satellite companies extra to carry FOX networks. Thurston isn't sure if this is because of the number of viewers or some other reason, but it's worth noting.

When the FOX agreement ends, SmackDown will switch to the USA Network, but Monday Night Raw and NXT will also be searching for new places to air. In the statement that came with the news about SmackDown moving, WWE and NBCU expressed their excitement about bringing SmackDown to the USA Network.

"NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades. 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," WWE President Nick Khan said.

"It's a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU's decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network's consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership. With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we'll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase,"  said Frances Berwick, Chairman, NBCUniversal Entertainment. 

We'll need to see where Raw and NXT end up, but no matter where they go, Premium Live Events will still be available for streaming on Peacock.

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