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

Thursday, 17 May, 2018

While splitting up Raw and SmackDown Live would disrupt the continuity WWE has enjoyed with having both on USA Network, a move could be beneficial.

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.

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

NBCUniversal is willing to lose the television rights to SmackDown Live while maintaining its relationship with WWE to air Raw on USA Network, The Hollywood Reporter's Matthew Belloni reported Wednesday. 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.

WWE's deal with USA / NBC expires on September 30, 2019, and they are now in an exclusive negotiating period with each other until the end of this spring.

No word yet on where SmackDown will end up but Fox has been speculated.

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 started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show. It first aired on SyFy before moving to United States of America in 2016. The show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals.

If it does play out this way, it's a dream scenario for WWE. Throughout much of its existence, SmackDown has been seen as secondary to Raw, no matter how much WWE would do to present the two shows as equal.