WWE's 'SmackDown' to return to NBCUniversal's USA Network in more than $1.4 billion deal


Shinsuke Nakamura and Karrion Kross wrestle during the WWE SmackDown at Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot on May 5, 2023, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Gladys Vega | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

WWE’s “Friday Night SmackDown” will return to USA Network in October 2024 as part of a five-year domestic media rights partnership between TKO Group Holdings and NBCUniversal, WWE said Thursday.

Shares of TKO dropped more than 14% following the announcement.

The deal comes out to an average of $287 million per year, a total value of over $1.4 billion, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. WWE does not expect to reach a rights agreement for its flagship show “Raw” until next year.

“SmackDown” has been on Fox since October 2019, with a rights agreement for $205 million per year in a five-year deal. This new agreement represents a roughly 40% increase. “SmackDown” last appeared on USA Network from 2016 to 2019.

WWE is a component of TKO Group Holdings, which was created after a merger between WWE and Endeavor‘s UFC. TKO started trading on the NYSE this week. With Friday nights on USA and prime-time specials airing on NBC as well as the WWE hub at Peacock we will continue to leverage the power of our entire portfolio to serve this passionate fanbase. Disclosure: NBCUniversal owns CNBC.