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

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

For the past few years now, NBCUniversal owned the rights to both WWE Raw and Smackdown Live.

WWE have stated they would announce their new TV deal between May and September 2018, so there's no telling when official confirmation will be made by the company. According to those same sources, the "House that (WWE Champion) A.J. Styles Built" is going to be left up for open bidding by other networks.

Fox has emerged as one of the potential buyers as the network expressed its interest in acquiring the rights to Raw and SmackDown last March, per Michael McCarthy of Sporting News.

This is mainly because NBCUniversal wants to only keep Raw which will be three times more expensive than the current deal.

It looks like SmackDown Live could be leaving USA Network sooner than later because of the fact Raw is such a large property.

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NBCU and WWE declined to comment on the negotiations, which are still-ongoing.

NBCUni snagged the rights to SmackDown back in 2010. Initially airing on SyFy, they moved SD to U.S. full time in January 2016, but while it now boasts the sixth biggest audience among original cable shows, the blue brand will likely be ditched in favour of keeping Raw. It marked the first time that the top three shows were broadcast on the same network.

The Fox connection has been in the conversation for months now with there even being rumor and innuendo that Fox could try to buy WWE outright.

WWE's television contract is expiring in 2019 with the USA Network. By airing on broadcast television every week, WWE could be motivated to stack SmackDown as much as possible.

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