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WWE SmackDown Set For TV Bidding War?

WWE SmackDown Set For TV Bidding War?

The announcement of less-than-expected rights fees sent the company's stock price crashing down.

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

However in 2019 the current TV deal between the WWE and NBCUniversal is expiring and this could change the landscape for Smackdown Live.

A tweet from Matthew Belloni of The Hollywood Insider suggest that Raw will stay on the USA Network, but SmackDown Live is still up for grabs. Fox has been speculated as a new home for SmackDown, though this should be taken with a hint of cynicism.

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WWE and NBCU both declined comment on the negotiations, which are still underway. NBCU had paid $30 million for the SmackDown franchise 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. 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.

Smackdown, which still boasts the sixth biggest audience among cable originals (including news programming), enters the open market as sports and sports entertainment (WWE wrestling is staged) programming has been fetching a premium given the live tune-in that comes with it. This could be a very big deal pretty soon for a new network looking for a boost on Tuesday nights.

WWE chief financial officer George Barrios earlier this week when asked about Raw and Smackdown airing on differrent networks.

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