• Loading stock data...
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Join us this September for Tuned In Request to Attend

Fox Opts For College Sports Over WWE Post-UFC Merger

  • Starting in October 2024, Fox will no longer air WWE's "SmackDown" on Friday nights.
  • The network has rights for college football and basketball that could fill the void.
Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

Fox appears to be choosing live sports over scripted entertainment after ending its five-year, billion-dollar run with the WWE.

In October 2024, WWE’s Friday night showcase “SmackDown” will transition from Fox to USA Network under a reported five-year, $1.4 billion deal with NBCUniversal. Fox had reportedly been paying about $205 million a year for the rights. 

The move will leave Fox with a programming void on Friday nights — and college sports could be the network’s top choice to fill those primetime slots.

Along with CBS and NBC, Fox has Big Ten football rights in the fall thanks to the conference’s $7 billion deal with the network, although it’s unclear exactly how much Fox is paying. It also has Big 12 rights that it splits with ESPN for what will be $380 million a year. In the winter and early spring, Fox has Big East basketball rights, for which it is paying at least $40 million annually.

That would give Fox a full weekend slate of live sports from Friday night through Sunday evening, using a mix of college football, basketball, and the NFL from September into January. And that’s not to mention the network’s MLB rights, which include some of the playoffs and the entire World Series.

Wrestling For Rights

NBCU’s USA, which broadcast “SmackDown” before it moved to Fox in 2019, also has the rights to WWE’s “Raw” on Monday nights, as well as “NXT,” but could face competition to retain the former package. Disney is reportedly among the companies interested in acquiring some WWE rights.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Big Ten Commissioner: Why Staying Put With 18 Members Is Plenty—for Now

Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti is focused on properly integrating the new schools into the conference.

Bulls and Blackhawks Owners’ $7 Billion Plan to Transform Chicago

The project is going to be backed by private investments.

Comcast Scores With NBA Deal and Olympics, but Financial Issues Brew

The NBC Sports parent company details its new NBA rights deal, even before a league announcement.

Sports TV Ratings Tend to Dip During Election Season, but Money Will Flow

Prior history suggests the upcoming election season will again prove disruptive to sports viewership.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

NFL’s 18-Game Season & Contract Holdouts, Olympics’ Newest Sport


Featured Today

The Perfect Storm Propelling ‘EA Sports College Football’ to Early Success

Growing fandom and a long wait have already reaped dividends for EA.
July 22, 2024

The FTC Noncompete Ruling Could Change MMA As We Know It

Fighters could see their options—and earnings—grow.
July 21, 2024

O No Canada: The Next Big Sports Betting Scandal Could Erupt North of the Border

‘It’s open-season for match-fixing up there.’
July 20, 2024

The Road to the Return of ‘EA Sports College Football’

This summer, the biggest development in college sports is virtual.

NBA Rejects TNT Sports’ Bid, Chooses Amazon for National Media Rights

The league rejects TNT Sports’ bid to exercise its matching rights, saying the terms did not meet Amazon.
July 23, 2024

Everything You Need to Know: Where NBA, WBD Stand in Rights Decision

The interpretation of TNT Sports’ matching rights with the NBA amplifies the drama in the high-profile saga.
Jun 6, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Shaquille O'Neal looks on before the game between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks in game one of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden.
July 24, 2024

TNT Launches an A-List Marketing Blitz to Save ‘Inside the NBA’

The push has fans, players, and celebrities making noise.

TopSpin 2K25 Brings the Legends of Tennis to Your Living Room

2K sports is reviving a classic with TopSpin 2K25.
July 23, 2024

WNBA Smashes Ratings Record With Competitive All-Star Game

The game was the league’s highest rated in more than 20 years.
July 22, 2024

Verstappen’s Slump Sparks F1 Ratings: Will More U.S. Fans Watch?

Formula One viewership has stalled over the last year as Verstappen has dominated.
Hosts of Inside the NBA on TNT
July 22, 2024

TNT Sports’ Parent Moves to Keep NBA Rights Despite Financial Woes

Warner Bros. Discovery is attempting to make good on its bid to retain NBA rights.
July 22, 2024

Cheryl Miller Joins WNBA Union in Blasting $2.2 Billion ‘Lowball’ Deal

‘Not enough. Not even close,’ Cheryl Miller said.