Sportico has an article online which details how FOX is putting money aside to be able to afford the new NFL rights, an article which also explains why Smackdown has so far been a hit for the network.
The article states that no one should expect that FOX will try and walk out of the $1 billion WWE deal like they just did with the U.S. Open golf contract which they offloaded to NBC Sports. Sportico says that WWE is providing 52 weeks of programming to FOX for just $1.9 million per hour, considerably less than what FOX would otherwise pay for another show.
Two drama television shows which would occupy the Friday night 8PM to 10PM time slot would cost around $5 million an hour and that investment is only for just 22 nights of original content. That is much more than FOX is paying WWE and Sportico adds that Smackdown is currently drawing 5% larger audience in the 18-49 demographic than what was on the network before and that’s also when this year, overall primetime demos were down 13%.
The article also states that with the median age of 52.4 years, Smackdown viewers are nearly five years younger than those who were watching FOX in that time slot last season.