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NBC Universal More Interested in RAW than SmackDown Live!

Posted By James Walsh on 05/16/18


WWE could be seeing its shows split between networks as it works to negotiate new television deals, according to a new report. THR reports that NBCUniversal is focusing on renewing Raw and as a result, Smackdown is being shopped to various networks.

While that sounds like a problem for WWE, its more of an embarassment of riches. NBCUniversal is expected to pay as much as three times the current deal for Raw, which airs on USA Network. Sources say that FOX is being speculated as the next home for Smackdown, which has been on NBCU networks since 2010. Both NBCUniversal and WWE declined to comment on the negotiations.

Live sports (and sports entertainment) bring a marquee value in the current television landscape because it is much more likely to garner most of its audience immediately and not via time-shifted/DVR viewing or SVOD platforms. 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 Foxs sale with Disney.

It was reported in March that Fox was making a big push for the broadcast rights to WWEs TV shows. WWEs deal with NBCUniversal expires at the end of September in 2019. The exclusive negotiating period between NBCU and WWE was set to expire in the spring and presumably, with this news breaking, now has.