According to analysis by Morgan Stanley, Fox is actually losing money broadcasting WWE Smackdown which could explain why the WWE is so eager to sell the company as soon as it can.
Morgan Stanley has stated there is not enough value, not enough of a financial return and not enough fans to balance what the WWE is charging Fox for Smackdown.
Morgan Stanley’s analysis stated that Fox paid $196.7 million in the 2020-2021 television season for the Smackdown broadcast rights in the United States and the show lost $134 million. In the following television season Fox paid $208.5 million but again the show rang up $145 million in losses.
The losses projected for the future are:
$155.6 million for 2022-2023
$166.9 million for 2023-2024
Morgan Stanley has advised the WWE would be better off taking less money in the next broadcasting deal but remaining on a high profile network than to sell the rights to a streaming service or a cable network.
The WWE broadcasting contracts with Fox and NBCUniversal (who owns the USA Network) will lapse at the end of 2024. Raw moved from TNN to the USA Network in 2005. SmackDown moved to Fox from the USA Network in 2019. The WWE has stated they would like to sell off the company this year.
Over the last year WWE stock has risen from $51.42 to $90.24. Year to year, revenue is up 19%.