Despite any negative discussions fans might sometimes have about WWE’s TV product and ratings, they’re continuing to excel at making massive amounts of money, and the Fox Corporation, whose partnership with WWE will begin this fall, is excited about getting in on some of that.
Per WrestlingInc, WWE reported record earnings for both the fourth quarter of 2018 and the entire year. They made $272.5 million over the course of the year, more than they’ve ever made in one year before. That certainly has something to do with the Fox TV deal, and also the much-maligned ongoing contract with the government of Saudi Arabia. 411Mania also reported that WWE plans to buy back 500 million dollars of its own stock.
As for Fox, they seem to have big plans for WWE content once Smackdown moves to the Fox Network in October. For those of us who’ve been wondering, first of all, Smackdown will still air live when it’s on Friday Nights on Fox, as reported by Gamespot. That’s going to make PPV weekends interesting since Smackdown will now kick off the weekend instead of ending it like it currently does.
According to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier (h/t to Gamespot), Fox also plans to run other WWE content on their other channels, although we don’t know exactly what yet:
The Fox sports networks, FS1, and others, will have some other wrestling — not live Smackdown, not Raw, but other ties to the WWE world.
There’s also been a lot of chatter on the wrestling internet that Smackdown may not stay long on Friday nights, but that seems to be the result of this quote from Charlie Collier:
To me it looks like he’s saying “in the short term” to mean “in the near future,” but a lot of people are reading it as “temporarily.” In any case, a lot of this is going to be speculative until this fall, when WWE’s television presence will be drastically altered.