The bidding war for the TV rights of Raw and SmackDown Live may be between more companies than just NBC and FOX according to recent rumors.
In September of 2019 WWE's current television deal with NBC Universal, the deal that sees Raw and SmackDown Live air on the USA Network every Monday and Tuesday night, comes to an end. That may seem like a long way off for some but the buzz surrounding what could happen with both shows already begun.
Apparently, WWE could announce what's next for their two biggest shows as early as May of this year. While it is entirely possible that their relationship with NBC Universal and the USA Network could continue, there has been a lot of talk of FOX perhaps sparking a bidding war for the right to air Raw and SmackDown Live.
A bidding war is good news for WWE, of course. If more companies want their product, it will obviously drive the price up. According to Variety, who recently spoke with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon about their current partnership with NBC Universal, it may be more than just a two horse race. Apparently, Facebook and Amazon may both be interested in trying to acquire WWE's TV rights. Plus, when Triple H and WWE CFO George Barrios showcased their programming to FOX last year Disney, YouTube, CBS, and the aforementioned Amazon were also present.
In relation to Facebook's interest in WWE, there is the very real possibility that more WWE programming could move online. That likely depends on the success of the Mixed Match Challenge, a series currently airing on Facebook Watch. Stephanie McMahon squashed rumors that Raw and SmackDown Live may air live on the WWE Network though. McMahon didn't rule out that ever happening, but said at the moment "it is absolutely relevant and necessary to have [our content] on linear platforms."
So, it seems that the bidding war for WWE programming is heating up. The current deal that sees Raw and SmackDown Live air on the USA Network generated around $180 million last year alone. If there are as many companies interested in attempting to earn WWE's business in the future then we could see that number rise significantly in the next few years.
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