WWE 'Smackdown' Up for Grabs as NBCUniversal Moves to Pin Down 'Raw'

WWE 'Smackdown' Up for Grabs as NBCUniversal Moves to Pin Down 'Raw'

NBCU and WWE declined to comment on the still-ongoing negotiation.

According to Variety, frontrunners for acquiring the rights to SmackDown are FOX, Facebook and Amazon.

It looks like Raw and SmackDown Live might end up on two different networks when all is said and done after WWE's current television contract with NBC Universal ends. The publication cites sources and claims NBCU is focused on renewing its pact for Raw, which is expected to go for as much as three times its current value.

TV rights is a huge revenue earner for the WWE, so it's unlikely WWE just wants to put Smackdown on its own WWE Network.

Smackdown Live moved to the USA Network July of 2016, after 17 years of appearing on SyFy, MyNetworkTV, UPN and others. WWE will seek a new home for Smackdown on the open market, effectively splitting their programming. The show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals.

NBCU have held the rights to SmackDown since 2010, paying a reported $30 million for the franchise.

Rumors surfaced earlier this year that Fox Sports could be a good candidate to broadcast WWE shows in the near future.



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