WWE’s deal with FOX made huge headlines last year, but it also invited skepticism, as FOX is notorious for canceling shows with below-par ratings. Brooklyn 99 and Firefly are two major examples of FOX’s cancellations, which led to tremendous fan outrage.
SmackDown started out strong on FOX and managed to beat RAW consistently every week. However, the ratings have taken a dip since the COVID-19 pandemic led to empty arena shows. The show hit its lowest ratings ever last week, which will certainly get the FOX officials talking.
FOX recently canceled WWE Backstage, which led to speculations about SmackDown’s future on the network. It’s been less than a year since SmackDown moved to FOX on Friday nights, but the ratings have taken a massive tumble since the initial few weeks.
Anthony Curpi on Sportico mentioned FOX’s recent cancellation of golf. This move saved the network $42million, but they also had to pay the PGA $51 million. This clause wouldn’t come into play for the FOX-WWE deal, as the report mentioned that the network is happy with WWE’s performances so far.
WWE has brought a new viewer base to the network, which is appreciated by the FOX’s executives. WWE-FOX deal, worth at $1 billion, sees FOX pay WWE $205 million per year for their content.
FOX saves tremendous money by not producing the shows themselves, which incentivizes the move for wrestling on their network. While other sports shows have offseason, WWE has the advantage of running the show throughout the year.