WWE SmackDown Set For TV Bidding War?

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

Courtesy of USA Network

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

Hollywood Reporter Editorial Director Matthew Belloni posted information Wednesday indicating that Smackdown Live could be done on the USA Network, while Raw is sticking around at triple the price they're now making. According to those same sources, the "House that (WWE Champion) A.J. Styles Built" is going to be left up for open bidding by other networks.

Annie Kruger - a spokeswoman for WWE - told Sporting News in March that the company plans to announce their new U.S. TV partner between May and September of this year.

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.

Net neutrality gets a reprieve, but it could be short-lived
There has been a ton of public support for Net Neutrality over the a year ago , making it a hard issue for politicians to ignore. Wednesday's Senate vote on a resolution to reinstate net neutrality protections ended 52 in favor and 47 against.

WWE and NBCU both declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations.

For this latest cycle, early reports indicate that WWE's outlook could be very, very different. The show began airing that year on Syfy, with corporate sibling US heavily promoting it. SmackDown moved full time to United States of America in January 2016, as the cable network home to Mr. Robot and The Sinner aired all three WWE shows: SmackDown, Raw and Tough Enough. SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show. In addition to Raw and Smackdown, WWE produces Main Event and Superstars for their streaming Network service.

If WWE increases their revenue for Raw and manages to land a good contract for SmackDown Live, then that will be a major financial boost for the company - not that they need it. By airing on broadcast television every week, WWE could be motivated to stack SmackDown as much as possible.

Latest News