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WWE signs up Fox as new domestic partner, USA extends

US wrestling organisation WWE has today (Wednesday) sealed a new domestic rights deal with the Fox Sports division of the Fox network and has extended its long-running partnership with cable-television broadcaster USA Network, stating that the agreements provide a substantial increase in the value of its US distribution.
 
Under a five-year deal running from 2019 to 2023, Fox will show WWE’s flagship programme, SmackDown Live, on Friday nights commencing from October 4 next year. The weekly, two-hour live event will be broadcast 52 weeks per year.
 
“WWE and Fox are a perfect match,” Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and chief executive, said. “Moving SmackDown Live to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage Fox’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.”
 
USA Network’s five-year extension will also run from 2019 to 2023 for the Monday Night Raw programme.
 
The new agreement for the live, weekly three-hour block that commences in October 2019 continues WWE and USA’s relationship, which stretches back for nearly three decades.
 
“Monday Night Raw and USA Network have dominated Monday nights during a truly historic run,” Chris McCumber, president of entertainment networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, said. “Our partnership with WWE is one of the strongest and most successful in the business, and together we’ll take Raw to even greater heights.”
 
WWE said these agreements increase the average annual value of its US distribution to 3.6 times that of the prior deal with NBCUniversal, which currently has rights to both SmackDown and Raw.