Fox CEO Blames Audiences for the Abrupt End of Partnership Between Them and WWE: “Didn’t Attribute Enough”

Fox CEO Blames Audiences for the Abrupt End of Partnership Between Them and WWE: “Didn’t Attribute Enough”

WWE is a juggernaut in the sports entertainment industry. And all this is courtesy of the hard work and effort of Vince McMahon and his team over the last 40+ years. Right from merchandising to selling out arenas to having record viewership, all this has been possible only because of McMahon’s business acumen. But for all the promotion’s efforts, Fox didn’t renew its deal with the WWE to air SmackDown in September.

America’s Favorite Video Today

As a result, SmackDown had to move back to the USA Network in October.

Fox CEO blamed “the advertising numbers” for non-renewal of SmackDown contract


Article continues below this ad

From 2010 to 2019, SmackDown was aired on the USA Network owned by NBC Universal. Then in June 2019, Fox announced a five-year agreement to air SmackDown. That deal was worth $205 million per year.

SmackDown first aired on Fox on October 4, 2019. That episode also happened to be the 20th-anniversary special of SmackDown. This also marked SmackDown’s return to the Friday night time slot. Prior to that, SmackDown always aired in the Thursday time slot since 2015.

Get instantly notified of the hottest WWE stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

Fox also wanted to acquire the broadcast rights for RAW, but NBCUniversal won that bidding war and continued to air RAW. But as time went by, Fox didn’t see a good return of investment from the SmackDown deal. Hence in September 2023, Fox ended its deal with the WWE. Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch explained exactly why they never renewed their contract with the WWE.

Read more: “I Know That Guy”: John Cena Gets Namedropped on AEW TV for the First Time, Days After He Made AEW Reference on SmackDown

During a FOX earnings conference call for Q1 2024, he said, “We were not hitting the advertising numbers due to the audience of the WWE for our return on investment to be above the levels that we would accept. But also, we didn’t attribute enough significant retransmission revenue to the WWE either”.

So it seems that the cause behind Fox dropping WWE was due to the network not getting the return on investment it was hoping for. Further, Murdoch stated that the network was very focused on getting the agreed-upon return, which was not the case for WWE, leading the network to drop the wrestling promotion altogether.

Talking about viewership, RAW’s numbers have been taking a hit since September.

RAW’s viewership has dropped to 1.391 million viewers


Article continues below this ad

Back in 2019, RAW’s viewership was a strong 2.5 million viewers on average. But that has been steadily dropping over the last few years.

On the other hand, SmackDown’s viewership has consistently been around 2 million+ viewers. The October 20th episode had around 2.254 million viewers, while RAW’s last episode had a viewership of just 1.391 million viewers.


Article continues below this ad

WWE even broke an embarrassing record that fateful night. The main event match between Sami Zayn and Damian Priest was the least-watched main event in the history of RAW with just 1.2 million viewers. Triple H and Co will definitely need to come up with something soon to bring up the numbers of RAW. But are you happy with SmackDown moving back to the USA network?

Watch this story: John Cena Takes a Dig at Solo Sikoa by Drawing WWE Star Turned AEW Personality Into the Mix

Providing feedback will help us make your experience better.

Enjoyed Your Read? Let us know how likely you are to recommend EssentiallySports to your friends!

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.