NBCUniversal is keeping WWE Raw, Smackdown Live moving to another network

Sources say the franchise will now go to open bidding as NBCU will keep 'Raw.'

THR reports that NBCUniversal is focusing on renewing Raw and as a result, Smackdown is being shopped to various networks.

Sporting News' Michael McCarthy reported in March that Fox was looking to acquire the rights for Raw and SmackDown Live, with Raw potentially airing on network television and SmackDown Live going to FS1.

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. It was noted that a new deal for RAW would be worth three times the current value, which would open up Smackdown moving to a new network.

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

Especially after the brand extension in 2016, it wouldn't hurt to create more separation between WWE's two biggest weekly programs.

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NBCU and WWE declined to comment on the negotiations.

Reportedly, NBCUniversal paid $30 million for the rights to Smackdown Live in 2010, but the deal in 2019 would have been way more expensive.

Smackdown Live moved to the USA Network July of 2016, after 17 years of appearing on SyFy, MyNetworkTV, UPN and others. SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show. 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.

If it does play out this way, it's a dream scenario for WWE. FOX is said to be among the networks interested in WWE programming so the show could land there.

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