Thomas Fenton Reports:
In what will be the biggest WWE and likley wrestling story of all of 2018, the WWE is now set to cash in like never before in it's new rights deal for both RAW and Smackdown.
In a deal that was set in place over the weekend WWE and FOX look to have struck a deal that will send Smackdown Live to FOX. The deal would see FOX proper carring Smackdown Live on a likely Friday night time slot. The deal should not come as a surprise as FOX was a major player to carry both RAW and Smackdown, however with RAW staying on NBC Universal Fox jumped on Smackdown. The surprise should come that it at this point is not going to be on FS1 and will actually be on the main FOX channel.
It was rumored and discussed of having Smackdown move to a streaming service like Amazon, Yahoo, or Facebook however Vince was never in love with any of those ideas and it may have just been a marketing and negotiating tactic all along.
While orginally negotiating with FOX for both propertys , FOX was very interested in paying even more money to run Wrestlemania live on there main network. This was something the Vince McMahon was very interested in as well due to ratings and advertising slots for that show. Whether that is a done discussion now that RAW is headed back to NBC is still unknown.
The Smackdown Live deal is to be rumored at just under 1Billion dollars over a 5 year period, again those numbers are very early.
RAW and NBC Universal discussed a long term deal however WWE stuck to a very smart buisness plan as the content prices keep going up and rights deals continue to grown only wantes to sign a 5 year contract. The 5 year contract with NBC Universal is worth near 2 Billion dollars with a annual rate with escalators averaged out to around 400 Million per year.
WWE seems to have struck gold with these new rights deals, and unless something goes terribly wrong 2019 will be the most profitable year in WWE history.