The pro wrestling world buzzed with excitement as TKO Group Holdings declared a colossal deal for the WWE Friday Night SmackDown series. As per the announcement, starting from October 2024, fans can rekindle their Friday night wrestling memories with the show, this time airing on USA Network, a part of NBC Universal. Furthermore, the deal bagged is nothing short of a bonanza!
Lined up for a five-year period, the contract is worth a staggering $1.435 billion, averaging around $287 million per annum. Apart from the wrestling show, the deal brings even more cheer for the wrestling aficionados. NBC will telecast four primetime specials each year, offering a true feast to the pro-wrestling followers.
Making its debut on NBC for the first time, WWE showcases the perfect blend of entertainment and sport. The press release from the company offered a little glimpse into what can be expected. Promising a grand comeback, the WWE production will star the elongated list of fan-favorites, including John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Rey Mysterio.
Smackdown with its robust track record, consistently ranking as the no. 1 show in its time slot, paints an optimistic future. According to the WWE President Nick Khan, SmackDown’s return to USA Network on Fridays allows the organization to continue their long-standing alliance with NBCUniversal, and further boost mass viewing.
NBCUniversal apprehended the significance of this partnership, which has been effective in keeping USA Network at the top of cable entertainment networks. This deal brings together Friday nights wrestling on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, all under one platform to cater to wrestling fans.
Currently, USA Network is home to WWE NXT and WWE Monday Night Raw, the 2nd highest-rated cable entertainment program in 2023. The viewership performance of these two shows indicates the dedication of WWE fans, with audience numbers escalating year on year.
Peacock, since 2021, has been the exclusive broadcasting partner for WWE Network in the USA. Subscribers can access a wide range of WWE content including fan-favorite shows, groundbreaking documentaries, and original series. This April, WWE’s flagship event WrestleMania 39 created a record for Peacock, marking it as their highest weekend usage thus far.
This deal cements the relationship of WWE with NBCUniversal and USA Network, promulgating the growth of wrestling viewership through diverse platforms, while promising fans matchless wrestling action alongside exciting advancements in the pipeline.