NBCUniversal May Drop WWE Smackdown Live From Its TV Schedule

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

The last time WWE negotiated a new rights deal in 2014, the company chose to re-sign with NBC Universal to continue airing Raw and SmackDown on USA Network and SyFy respectively. The sports entertainment company held numerous same meetings before their last TV negotiations a few years ago. Sources say that FOX is being speculated as the next home for Smackdown, which has been on NBCU networks since 2010.

As for Smackdown, WWE is shopping it around to other networks after NBCU declined to renew the deal for the show. This could be a very big deal pretty soon for a new network looking for a boost on Tuesday nights. "From our end, [we don't think] it's an issue to split it", said Barrios. Seven or eight years ago, it was only from one network to another network, which changed dramatically.

Barrios stated that the WWE would feel more "comfortable" having their programming with different companies today because of the direct connection that they have with the WWE Universe. "So, our ability to do that, if it made sense economically, there were partners interested, if we felt comfortable with the partners in question, operationally we would not see an issue with doing that". If it's true that WWE can get an increase from NBC for Raw and add a new deal to SmackDown from a new network on top of that, it could make Vince McMahon a much richer man. SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show. Fox has been speculated as a home for SmackDown, sources say.

Monday Night Raw has only aired on two networks in its 25-year history. It debuted on the broadcast television network UPN in 1999, before moving to the CW Network in 2006.

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



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