WWE SmackDown Set For TV Bidding War?


WWE has talked with the USA Network, FOX, Disney, CBS, Amazon, and YouTube.

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.

As for Smackdown, WWE is shopping it around to other networks after NBCU declined to renew the deal for the show.

WWE Raw looks set to remain on the USA Network after the company's current set of TV rights expire in September 2019, but the same can't be said for SmackDown.

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WWE and NBCU both declined comment on the negotiations, which are still underway. WWE will seek a new home for Smackdown on the open market, effectively splitting their programming.

NBCU have held the rights to SmackDown since 2010, paying a reported $30 million for the franchise. SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show. It first aired on SyFy before moving to U.S. in 2016.

There's a big live-sports rights deal up for grabs. The show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals. Not only do they get to keep their long-standing relationship with NBC/USA, but they would also have the energy of another media conglomerate behind them in Fox. In addition to Raw and Smackdown, WWE produces Main Event and Superstars for their streaming Network service. By airing on broadcast television every week, WWE could be motivated to stack SmackDown as much as possible.