NBC Interested In Airing WWE Smackdown
The WWE TV contracts are coming up in over a year and there is speculation that NBC could be interested in airing Smackdown.
Since October 2019, FOX has been the home of WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown program, which has become the most-watched weekly pro wrestling show over the past four years. The five-year deal that FOX agreed to in 2018 will pay WWE over $1 billion to air Smackdown until October 2024.
The move to FOX was huge for WWE because they were on smaller networks previously with Smackdown as well as cable channels, but FOX is one of the big four TV networks along with NBC, ABC and CBS. If you can get onto a major network like that then that opens you up to a bigger audience, so that’s why WWE took the deal.
When WWE made it known that they were for sale, there was a lot of speculation that a company that owns multiple TV networks would purchase the company. However, it was Endeavor who ended up acquiring WWE for about $9 billion and are combining it with the UFC for a massive $21 billion deal.
In the past, WWE’s CEO Nick Khan has spoken about how the company plans to talk to Comcast/NBC Universal about the TV rights for Raw and FOX for the TV rights for Smackdown because as the current homes to WWE programming, they have the right to make offers before WWE either accepts or listens to other offers.
While discussing WWE’s possible media rights, Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio commented about how Comcast/NBCU may have an interest in Smackdown if Fox chooses not to make a big offer or if WWE chooses to look elsewhere.
“I know that there was talk of NBC getting SmackDown. There’s been no official negotiations but I have absolutely heard the idea of NBC being interested as far as the idea of getting everything and putting SmackDown on the network. That does make sense.”
As he continued, Meltzer made it clear that he didn’t know if NBC getting Smackdown will actually happen, but he did say it wouldn’t surprise him if it happened.
“Will they do it? I don’t know. They have their own Friday night stuff that’s been around for years and years, we’ll see. That wouldn’t surprise me if NBC takes everything and puts SmackDown on.”
Earlier this year, there was a report about how airing Smackdown costs Fox a lot of money, so that could be a reason why Fox chooses to move on from it.