WWE's Smackdown will be moving from it's current home on FOX to the USA Network as part of NBCUniversal's new mega-deal for WWE television-rights packages, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The deal will mark a return home for Smackdown, which aired on USA from 2016 to 2019 before moving to Fox.
While terms of the deal were not official disclosed, the WSJ report along with a number of pro wrestling journalists, stated that the pact valued it at roughly $1.4 billion, which is about a 40% increase over the deal WWE had with Fox.
This marks the first deal for TKO since going public last week (officially merging with WWE in the process).
“Even at a moment when content spending has never been more scrutinized in the industry, premium properties like WWE with a massive following and huge engagement will always win out,” Mark Shapiro, president and chief operating officer of WWE parent TKO Group Holdings said.
The deal is good news for Smackdown, but it also means that the network isn’t expected to renew the rights to 'RAW' and 'NXT'.
Additionally, as part of the “SmackDown” deal, the NBC broadcast network plans to air four prime-time specials a year.
This is continues a strong relationship between NBCUniversal and WWE as NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service is the exclusive streaming home for WWE content and Premium Live Events.
It is unclear, at this time, where RAW, which airs every Monday night, and NXT, which airs every Tuesday night, will land following this deal.
TKO plans to begin shopping “Monday Night Raw” and “NXT” rights over the next several months and two potential suitors could be Disney and Warner Bros' Discovery who are both seeking to expand thier live sports streaming offerings.
WWE content has come a long way since the launch of their innovative pro wrestling streaming platform, the WWE Network, close to a decade ago, proving it was ahead of it's time.