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

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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.