Fox Sports SVP of Sales Mark Evans spoke with The Big Lead about the changes coming down the road with Fox Sports.
Evans discussed Fox looking to expand their football coverage, as well as getting back into hockey. Evans was also asked about SmackDown Live debuting on Friday nights on Fox this October, and if he is concerned that "WWE ratings are trending downward."
"We feel how we're going to present and how we're going to promote the WWE is going to inject it with such a new life," Evans said. "It's going to be a home run for us."
WWE officially announced in June of 2018 that SmackDown Live would be moving to Fox this fall. At the time, SmackDown ratings had been seeing a year-to-year increase, however the audience has fallen by double digits since.
Below is a look at the average audience for SmackDown since 2015, as well as the change from the year prior:
2015 (Aired on Syfy on Thursdays): 2.34 million
2016 (Moved to USA, went live on Tuesdays in July): 2.42 million (+3.4%)
2017: 2.55 million (+5.4%)
2018: 2.35 million (-7.8%)
2019 (through 7/31): 1.99 million (-15%)
It should be noted that Fox met with WWE about SmackDown moving to their network on May 17th, 2018. Up until that point, SmackDown had been averaging 2.6 million viewers for the year. Following the meeting, the show averaged 2.2 million viewers for the rest of the year, a drop of 15%.
WWE SmackDown Live will debut on FOX on Friday, October 4th.
If you use any of the numbers in this article, please credit Wrestling Inc.