Smackdown Reportedly Being Shopped as NBCUniversal Focuses On Keeping Raw

Angelo Anderson
May 17, 2018

There's a big live-sports rights deal up for grabs.

Smackdown Live is not part of the deal and that show will go to open bidding, meaning that it will likely be picked up by another network.

It sounds like NBCUniversal is able to afford airing Raw only so Smackdown Live may have to find a new network to call home. 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.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that WWE SmackDown is now being shopped around to various networks as NBCUniversal has declined to renew the deal for the USA Network.

WWE's deal with USA / NBC expires on September 30, 2019, and they are now in an exclusive negotiating period with each other until the end of this spring.

NBCU scored rights to SmackDown - the second-longest-running weekly episodic program in U.S. TV history - in 2010. SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show. At the time, United States of America aired five hours of live WWE programming a week; WWE programming now airs two nights a week on USA. The show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals. Fox secured the rights to Thursday Night Football this year for a huge five-year, $550 million deal, and Fox is expected to invest heavily in live sports programming as it divests itself of its sister production company 21st Century Fox Television in Fox's sale with Disney.

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

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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