FOX Still Reportedly Interested In Acquiring Raw, Other Outlets Aiming For Smackdown

Bessie Dean
May 18, 2018

The Hollywood Reporter reports that WWE SmackDown is now being shopped around to various networks as NBCUniversal has declined to renew the deal for the USA Network. Fox is listed in the story as a potential home for Smackdown, though it's unstated whether it would be the Fox broadcast network or a seemingly more likely Fox cable network such as FS1.

WWE's deal with NBC Universal is expected to end in September 2019, and a decision on where the company goes is expected to occur later this year.

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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 show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals. 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). Disney and ESPN earlier this month inked their first-ever multiyear deal for digital rights to live UFC Fight Night events in a pact worth $750 million ($150 million annually) starting in January. But UFC linear television rights are still being shopped by Endeavor, which purchased UFC in 2016 for $4 billion as part of its push into content ownership.

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