NBCUniversal May Drop WWE Smackdown Live From Its TV Schedule

Danny Woods
May 17, 2018

TV rights is a huge revenue earner for the WWE, so it's unlikely WWE just wants to put Smackdown on its own WWE Network.

The belief was that WWE could end up on FOX and if that did happen then Monday Night Raw would go to FOX while SmackDown Live would go to FOX Sports 1. NBCU is said to be focusing on renewing its pact for WWE's Raw, another wrestling franchise, and that deal is expected to close at as much as three times its current value.

This is according to a new write-up from The Hollywood Reporter, who state that NBCUniversal are keen to retain Raw in a deal that could close at up to three times the now contract's value, but will let SmackDown go to open bidding.

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Neither NBCU nor WWE have commented on the matter. Michael McCarthy of Sporting News had previously reported that if the deal went through, RAW would be featured on FOX, while Smackdown would be aired on FOX Sports (FS1). NBCU had paid $30 million for the SmackDown franchise in 2010. It first aired on SyFy before moving to US in 2016. WWE programming is an obvious fit for the "new Fox" focused on sports and live events and SmackDown could anchor Fox programming on Tuesday nights. It marked the first time that the top three shows were broadcast on the same network.

If it does play out this way, it's a dream scenario for WWE.

WWE's television contract is expiring in 2019 with the USA Network.

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