FOX CEO explains why the network didn’t want to retain Smackdown

Nov 3, 2023 - by Colin Vassallo

FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch was asked why the network didn’t purse the Smackdown television rights harder to keep them around past 2024 during the Q1 2024 earnings call yesterday.

Murdoch was straight in the answer and didn’t beat around the bush.

“We were not hitting the advertising numbers due to the audience of the WWE for our return on investment to be above the levels that we would accept,” he said. “But also, we didn’t attribute enough significant retransmission revenue to WWE either.”

WWE shows, while most of the year they are #1 in the 18-49 demo, get lower ad rates than other shows which don’t place that high in the chart and it’s mostly because of the wrestling demographic.

Smackdown was also expected to hit the 1.0 rating in 18-49 weekly, a number which WWE hasn’t been close to achieving in a long, long time.

“So, it made sense for us to move on,” Murdoch added. “They’ve been a great partner for many years but just quite simply, we’re very disciplined and the ROI didn’t meet our pretty disciplined parameters. So, we wish them luck and we’ve moved on from them.”

One Response

  1. Disgruntled Jobber says:

    To break it down in a more digestible way. Fox struggled to make back in ad revenue what it cost to broadcast WWE, so they opted to part ways.

    This isn’t a knock on WWE, but with Fox looking to expand it’s college sports programming, this opens up a slot for Fox to boradcast a Friday night game as well as their Saturday package.

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