I don’t think I’ve watched wrestling since Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels did that ladder match back in 1994, but my Twitter timeline ALWAYS has people talking about WWE.
Considering that the sports/entertainment product continues to massively popular, I’m not surprised by this Hollywood Reporter story explaining that Fox and WWE are closing in on a SmackDown broadcast deal worth one billion dollars:
Fox will be the anticipated home of WWE SmackDown Live in a massive new five-year deal worth more than $1 billion, sources close to the negotiations tell The Hollywood Reporter. The new deal, which is nearing completion and is worth $205 million annually, is expected to begin in October 2019, and will mark a three-fold increase over what NBCUniversal is currently paying WWE to air SmackDown on its USA network.
That is.. a lot of money. And it’s a big deal to move from USA to one of the big American television networks.
Andrew is here to put things in perspective:
Weekly WWE programming in prime time on one of the four major networks is beyond massive. It means Smackdown promos will run on Fox NFL Sundays. It means network level rights fees. It means validation for the product in Hollywood circles. This is HUGE.
— Andrew Goldstein (@AngeGold) May 21, 2018
Looks like I should have bought some stock when I had the chance:
WWE stock skyrocketing again, after news that Fox has agreed to pay to broadcast SmackDown Live. pic.twitter.com/Bl6mcTNFS4
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 21, 2018
SmackDown currently airs on Tuesday and averages around 2.5 million viewers per week, according an ESPN article. The network’s other major weekly show, “Raw,” pulls about 3 million and airs on USA. Under the new arrangement, FOX will reportedly move SmackDown to Friday night, where it previously aired from 2005 to 2015.
I sometimes feel like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino when it comes to wrestling, like the tired old guy who remembers what things were like “back in the day.”
“Son, when I was your age, we called it the World Wrestling Federation. And there was another promotion called WCW, and Hulk Hogan was a bad guy. And there was this local place in Philly where the Sandman used to smash beer cans on his forehead and batter his opponents with a Singapore cane. And there was a group of wrestlers called the “Full Blooded Italians” featuring Tracy Smothers and Little Guido.”
I feel old.