FS1 dropped WWE Backstage, but could the same happen to SmackDown on the main FOX network? WWE did sign a huge deal with FOX and viewership isn’t at expectations, but there are also benefits of keeping WWE around.
Anthony Crupi wrote on Sportico about FOX dropping golf. The network had a buyout clause that allowed them to end their deal. FOX will still reportedly pay the PGA around $51 million, but the network is also saving $42 million,
It was noted that FOX doing the same to Friday Night SmackDown isn’t as likely of a situation. FOX reportedly wanted to save money to pay the NFL’s higher rights fees which is why they nixed golf. SmackDown, while it did not perform to exceptions, has still lowered FOX’s average viewership age.
SmackDown is the second-oldest average pro wrestling viewership behind WWE NXT. It was noted that FOX is paying $205 million a year to have SmackDown on their network. Two hour-long dramatic programs would be around $15 million more to produce, plus those shows have an off-season. There is no off-season in WWE.
FOX also likes the idea of synergy between WWE and the NFL in the Fall. It appears that FOX and WWE’s relationship is still solid for now.