In an announcement that has sent the wrestling world into a frenzy, TKO Group Holdings has disclosed its recent signing of a new television contract with NBC Universal. The contract heralds the much-anticipated return of the WWE Friday Night SmackDown series on the USA Network in October 2024.
This isn’t just a comeback, folks — it’s a ground-breaking, five-year agreement! The deal also includes four annual primetime specials that will air on NBC. What a treat for fans of pro wrestling!
And we’re not just talking peanuts in terms of the deal’s cost. We’re looking at a whopping $1.435 billion! NBC Universal will shell out an average of $287 million annually, as reported by sources from CNBC.
As the official press release so succinctly puts it, “SmackDown Returns to USA Network as Part of Five-Year Agreement Between WWE and NBCUniversal”. The specials also mark WWE’s debut on NBC’s primetime TV.
Wrestling fanatics can already anticipate the thrill of the programme that has consistently led the ratings for the 18-49 demographic on Friday nights. Expect gripping appearances from top WWE Superstars like John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair and Rey Mysterio.
WWE President Nick Khan has expressed delighted at extending their longstanding partnership with NBCUniversal. The new agreement also promises the debut of WWE special events annually on NBC.
Frances Berwick, Chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment, echoes Khan’s excitement. The partnership with WWE has been instrumental in securing the USA Network’s spot as the highest-rated cable entertainment network for live viewership, according to Berwick.
As a testament to the partnership’s success, the USA Network is presently the home to WWE NXT and WWE Monday Night Raw. Reflecting the engaged WWE viewership, the ratings for WWE NXT and WWE Monday Night Raw have soared considerably in the sought-after demographic. Furthermore, these flagship series will continue to air on USA Network until September 2024.
In a huge bonus for wrestling enthusiasts across the States, NBC’s digital arm, Peacock, has held exclusive rights to WWE Network in the US since 2021. With a subscription, fans can enjoy unprecedented access to an extensive library of WWE on-demand content, including original series, documentaries, fan-favorite shows, and premium live events.
As wrestling mania continues unabated, we cannot wait to see what these next five years bring to the fandom. Whatever transpires, one thing is for sure – the world of WWE is set for mighty clashes, high-flying thrills, and electrifying triumphs. Stay tuned, sports entertainment enthusiasts!