During a FOX earnings conference call for Q1 2024, CEO Lachlan Murdoch was asked for clarification on why the network ultimately decided to move on from renewing a television rights deal for WWE SmackDown.
Explaining the situation of advertising and ROI regarding the show, Murdoch stated:
“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. But also, we didn’t attribute enough significant retransmission revenue to the WWE either.
So, it made sense for us to move on. 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.”
TKO Group Holdings and NBC announced in September that they came to an agreement on a five-year domestic media rights partnership for SmackDown to return to the USA Network, a $1.4 billion deal that also includes four specials to air annually on NBC in prime time.