FOX is apparently about to pay $1 billion to get the rights to air SmackDown Live for five years, so is the B show about to become the A show?
WWE's television deals for both Raw and SmackDown Live are up for renewal next year, and ever since that became apparent the topic has been discussed fervently. NBC currently has the rights to air both shows. However, they will face stiff competition if they want it to remain that way. According to rumors, NBC is actually willing to let SmackDown Live go elsewhere if it means they can keep Raw.
The latest reports suggest that is exactly what is going to happen. While WWE hasn't officially confirmed it, apparently FOX will be taking SmackDown Live off of NBC's hands starting in late 2019 for the princely sum of $1 billion. That will get the network the rights to the blue brand for five years, and early reports suggest that the show will move from Tuesdays to Fridays.
Dave Meltzer discussed the billion dollar deal on Wrestling Observer Radio and believes that there will need to be changes if SmackDown Live on FOX is going to be a success. "They're going to have to move top stars to SmackDown," Meltzer believes, "whether it's going to be two even shows, whether SmackDown will be the A show. That I can't tell you, but it has to be at least even and it can't be an afterthought show."
For years it has very much felt like SmackDown Live has been the "afterthought show" when directly compared to Raw. The blue brand only went live on a regular basis in 2016, and all too often it feels as if most of Vince McMahon's time and effort goes into his more established, flagship show on Monday nights. When a major network is paying you $1 billion that cannot happen.
The FOX deal actually explains what has been happening with SmackDown Live recently. Team Blue definitely got the better end of the deal in last month's Superstar Shakeup, and perhaps that was so Mr. McMahon could show off exactly how great a product the Tuesday night show can be. If that was the plan then mission accomplished, as WWE is about to be $1 billion better off.