A lot of speculations were going on about the future of Smackdown Live. The current deal with the USA Network is expiring next year. So, the TV rights for the so-called B-show of the WWE was up for grabs from 2019 onwards.
Concurrently, United States of America (USA) Network is its home beginning from 2014. Syfy Network used to broadcast the show even before that.
The current rumours always suggested that FOX Sports was the front-runner to grab the deal for Smackdown Live.
USA Network was always ready to extend their contract for the flagship show of the WWE i.e. WWE Raw. It has hosted the longest running weekly episodic television show in history over the last two decades.
Now, the Smackdown telecast will not remain on their hands, anymore. WWE has confirmed they have signed a contract with Fox Sports for the blue brand of the company.
FOX will start channeling Smackdown Live starting from October 1. It will remain live on the network even after the platform change.
But the Tuesday Night program has to shift to another date to keep the contents live. It will take place on Friday Nights on the Fox Sports each week.
Eric Shanks, President, COO and Executive Producer FOX Sports stated the following to express their excitement on this deal, (courtesy WWE.com)
“At FOX we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the FOX Sports family and bring SmackDown Live to broadcast television. We are huge fans and know that together FOX Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”
Smackdown Live is the second-longest running weekly episodic cable television show in history, only behind Monday Night Raw.
However, Fox Sports is likely to host it in a grand way to so that it can give a tough competition to the WWE Raw brand.
This will build a healthy rivalry with the USA Network in terms of TV ratings on each of the weeks.
The deal remains intact for the upcoming five years i.e. October 2024. Vince McMahon sounded more than happy to bring the WWE contents to Fox Sports.
Perhaps, this will allow them to bring more mainstream attention to the programming.
Here are his comments,
“WWE and FOX are a perfect match. Moving SmackDown Live to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage FOX’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.”