Vince McMahon returned to WWE last week and then became a member of the Board Of Directors. He then became the Executive Chairman of the company and this infuriated fans to no end. That being said, WWE still makes a lot of money thanks to their numerous television deals, including FOX. However, it seems FOX will be losing a lot of money this year.
Friday Night Smackdown moved to FOX back in 2019 when the two parties struck a five-year deal that will last until 2024. While Smackdown has consistently managed to maintain a decent viewership number, it seems not everything is going well with the deal.
This is because FOX’s deal with the blue brand hasn’t brought in the kind of profit they expected. According to Dave Meltzer on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it was revealed that the network paid $196.7 million to WWE as broadcasting fees in 2020-2021 and closed the year with losses amounting to $134 million.
In regards to 2021-2022, FOX paid WWE $202 million and ended up losing as much as $145 million. Meltzer cited the Morgan Stanley report, which noted that there weren’t enough wrestling fans to justify FOX shelling out so much money.
“Smackdown winning Friday for FOX most weeks makes WWE more valuable to other networks. But at the same time, even in winning the night, Smackdown still fetches the lowest ad rates of any Friday night network prime time show at $47,000 per minute.
Morgan Stanley did an analysis for FOX on Smackdown and felt that they couldn’t justify the price tag for the show. In the 2020-21 television season, FOX paid $196.7 million on the show and ended up with $134 million in losses. In 2021-22, FOX paid $208.5 million and ended up with $145 million in losses.
The conclusion is that there simply are not enough wrestling fans to justify the kind of money FOX spent on the show, and that the number of viewers is not likely to change over the next two years.
They estimate that losses will only get worse, with a projection of $155.6 million in losses for the 2022-23 season and $166.9 million for the 2023-24 season. FOX’s deal is $221.1 million for the payment to WWE for Smackdown in 2022-23 and $234.3 million in 2023-24.”
This is certainly terrible news for FOX, as they clearly did not expect this much loss in their deal when they first signed it back in 2019. Regardless, we will have to see whether they will re-sign with WWE after 2024.
What’s your take on this story? Sound off in the comments!