Fox Sports announced yesterday that it had reached a five-year agreement with the WWE to make Fox the new home of Smackdown Live. The show makes the move on October 4, 2019.
This is a move back to network television for the brand, which started on UPN in 1999. That is something WWE CEO Vince McMahon is excited about. He said in a press release “Moving SmackDown Live to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage FOX’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.” It is fair to also wonder if this might have an effect on broadcasting rights for McMahon’s reboot of the XFL whenever they are made available.
The deal becomes official after months of speculation and speculation about how Fox would use its newest stars. After all, Smackdown Live airs new episodes 52 weeks per year. It would help to give its stars as much exposure as possible. Nothing was outlined in the press release, but media pundits have suggested WWE Superstars may show up on Fox NFL Sunday, FS1 studio shows, or even Fox News.
Smackdown turns 20 years old in 2019 and has been a consistent ratings winner. Eric Shanks, COO and Executive Producer of Fox Sports expects that trend to continue. He said in a press release “We are huge fans and know that together FOX Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”