The CW will become the official broadcast home of WWE NXT in a new five-year deal that will see the showcase for WWE’s up-and-coming stars move from USA Network in October of 2024.
The network will air 52 live weekly events throughout the season, making NXT the latest addition to the CW’s growing roster of live sports, including ACC football and basketball games airing Saturdays throughout the season, and LIV Golf. The CW is also the new home of weekly studio series Inside the NFL and will broadcast the NASCAR Xfinity Series beginning in 2025. The network said it will soon offer more than 500 hours of sports programming.
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WWE renewals have been a bit of musical chairs. In September, TKO announced that WWE and NBCUniversal have agreed to a five-year domestic media rights deal that will bring Friday Night SmackDown to USA Network, also starting in Oct. 2024, exiting its current home on Fox. That deal is said to be worth $200 million. Raw, WWE’s top-rated flagship property that airs Mondays on USA Network is not yet spoken for when its deal is up.
Financial terms of the CW’s NXT deal weren’t released but Deadline hears it’s more than double the $15 million a year price tag of the current contract.
“We are thrilled to welcome the WWE brand into the CW Sports portfolio as they play an integral role in our mission to bring live sporting events to the network year-round,” said network president Dennis Miller. “WWE NXT is a perfect fit for The CW thanks to its dynamic young talent featuring the hottest rising stars in the sport and exhilarating, unpredictable weekly events. The passion and engagement of WWE’s fanbase is unmatched, and we are eager to grow that audience as WWE NXT’s new home on broadcast television.”
“The CW has made impressive moves over the past year with its live sports programming schedule. It’s truly an exciting opportunity to expand NXT’s audience by bringing the show to broadcast television for the first time in NXT’s history,” said WWE president Nick Khan.
“Between the new leadership and ownership, the economics of the deal and with their broadcast network now being in over 100 million homes, it became a no brainer to move NXT, one of our signature weekly shows, to the CW,” he told Deadline.
NXT was launched by WWE chief content officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque, a former pro-wrestler. WWE has aired weekly since 2012, featuring “the brightest young talent in sports entertainment,” the partners said. said. Nearly 90% of the participants in last year’s WrestleMania were developed under the NXT banner.
Led by WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, NXT is popular with younger audiences, ranking No. 1 in cable primetime on Tuesday nights last quarter among adults 18-49 and 18-34. Year to date, NXT’s average viewership is up 30% among adults 18-49. WWE Superstars, such as Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, have come up through NXT.
The next generation of WWE stars are groomed in a program that originated as a hybrid live event/reality show featuring popular WWE superstars mentoring rookies before it transitioned into a more traditional professional wrestling program. NXT serves as a training ground for the wrestlers to get used to competing in front of the television cameras before eventually making the leap to WWE.
TKO is reporting its first quarterly earnings later today. Endeavor reports Wednesday morning. There’s a lot going on here after company led by CEO Ari Emanuel said two weeks ago that he’s considering strategic alternatives but will retain its TKO stake. Endeavor’s biggest shareholder, Silver Lake, said it’s planning to take the company private.
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