Earlier this year WWE signed a huge five year deal with Fox Sports which will be worth more than $1 Billion over the course of the deal to WWE. This agreement sees Smackdown make the switch in October 2019 and we have been learning more and more about this lucrative deal over the past few months.
Numerous sources have reported that Fox are looking for a more sports orientated programme and wishes numerous changes to occur to the blue brand. WWE reportedly flew UFC Champion Daniel Cormier in for a tryout for a commentary role as a means to add legitimacy to the brand.
There has been similar reports from the Wrestling Inc that Ronda Rousey may also be being making the jump from Raw to Smackdown as she is seen as lending credibility to the brand.
The latest news to come out of the deal is that Fox is reportedly seeking around 3.3 million weekly viewers from Smackdown per Dave Meltzer.
The only issue with this comes when you start to look at the recent trend in WWE and Smackdown viewership figures which have been hitting record low ratings. This weeks, December 11th 2018, edition of Smackdown garnered 1.977 million viewers – slightly up from the Dec 4th edition.
Of course, Fox broadcasting is available in many more homes across the United States than the current USA Network so viewership will likely pick up initially. However if WWE can retain any initial boost they will receive remains to be seen.
Smackdown’s viewership for the past few months are below:
- Sept 4 – 2.32 million
- Sept 11 – 2.23 million
- Sept 18 – 2.28 million
- Sept 25 – 2.19 million
- Oct 2 – 2.1 million
- Oct 9 – 2.1 million
- Oct 16 – 2.55 million
- Oct 23 – 2.09 million
- Oct 30 – 2.11 million
- Nov 6 – 2.1 million
- Nov 13 – 2.31 million
- Nov 20 – 2.15 million
- Nov 27 – 2.26 million
- Dec 4 – 1.95 million