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 negotiations, which are still-ongoing.

According to Belloni, WWE and NBCUniversal are working on a TV rights deal for Raw that would triple the value of their current contract, so NBCUniversal would then allow SmackDown Live to go to the highest bidder. They added that Fox is a potential suitor for Smackdown, a network that had been rumored for months for Raw as well. Michael McCarthy of Sporting News had previously reported that if the deal went through, RAW would be featured on FOX, while Smackdown would be aired on FOX Sports (FS1).

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that WWE's Smackdown is being shopped to various networks after NBCUniversal - whose USA Network airs the highly rated pro wrestling matches - declined to re-up its deal. WWE has previously stated that their new television deal will be announced sometime between now and September.

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. At the time, US aired five hours of live WWE programming a week; WWE programming now airs two nights a week on USA.

WWE chief financial officer George Barrios earlier this week when asked about Raw and Smackdown airing on differrent networks. By airing on broadcast television every week, WWE could be motivated to stack SmackDown as much as possible.

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