Major changes are on the horizon for WWE fans, and they are set to reshape the way we experience Monday Night Raw and SmackDown. In a recent announcement, it was revealed that SmackDown will be making a significant move from Fox to the USA Network in 2024. This move marks a pivotal shift in the wrestling landscape.
Previously, Fox had secured the rights to SmackDown by striking a deal with WWE worth a substantial $205 million. However, in this new arrangement with the USA Network, WWE stands to gain even more, with a reported $287 million deal in place for SmackDown. Despite the network change, fans can rest assured that SmackDown will continue to air on Friday nights.
As part of this exciting new partnership, SmackDown is set to shine even brighter with the addition of four prime-time specials on NBC, broadening its reach and appeal to a wider audience.
While SmackDown’s future seems solidified, the fate of Monday Night Raw remains uncertain. It is anticipated that a new television deal for Raw will come to light, most likely in 2024. However, with SmackDown’s move to the USA Network, it is increasingly unlikely that Raw will continue its longstanding association with the same network.
Currently, USA Network pays WWE a substantial $265 million for the broadcast rights to Monday Night Raw. This figure is expected to rise significantly, possibly reaching the $300 million mark, with various potential bidders in the mix. Streaming giants like Amazon and Apple have expressed interest in securing live WWE programming, while Disney has also been rumored to have its eyes on Raw. Surprising contenders, including The CW, could also enter the fray.
Changing Days: A Potential Shift for Monday Night Raw
One key change that fans might witness is the shifting of Raw from its traditional Monday slot. WWE faces tough competition during the NFL season on Mondays, and the move to another weekday like Tuesday or Thursday could be in the cards. While WWE fans are accustomed to tuning in on Mondays, their loyalty and consistency are likely to follow the program to a new day.
What makes WWE a hot property in the world of TV rights is its devoted and unwavering fan base. Unlike traditional pro sports, WWE doesn’t have an offseason, providing 52 weeks of live programming every year. This reliability and predictability make it an enticing prospect for any network or streaming service looking to secure the rights to Raw.
The world of WWE is undergoing a seismic shift, with SmackDown making a network transition to the USA Network in 2024. While the future of Monday Night Raw remains uncertain, one thing is clear: WWE’s dedicated fan base and consistent year-round programming make it a coveted asset in the world of television rights. WWE fans can anticipate exciting changes in the way they experience their favorite shows in the coming years.