2 top companies going head to head for WWE SmackDown media rights
WWE signed massive media deals back in 2019, where Raw’s television rights were owned by NBC and SmackDown’s television rights were owned by Fox. WWE sold the rights for five years for more than $1 Billion each. Since both the deals are coming to an end next year, negotiations to bid the media rights for the next few years will begin sometime in 2024. It is now reported that two of the top companies are believed to be the top contenders to negotiate the media deals.
Negotiations Exclusively Done
According to Andrew Marchand of New York Post, the exclusivity period of current television rights has come to an end. Which means no new deals or contract extension for television rights with NBC and Fox has been made. Which could allow WWE to speak deals with other networks.
Earlier it was reported that USA Network is likely to continue holding the media rights of Raw and NXT. However current television partner of SmackDown, Fox is distancing themselves from WWE.
At this stage Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported that the two top companies Amazon and Disney are in talks and have been the top contenders to hold SmackDown television rights by their side.
Dave Meltzer on WOR says,
“Something else also, when Garrett and I were talking on Friday about Disney being interested in SmackDown on Friday. The belief is that Raw and NXT will probably stay with the USA although WWE is looking for a huge increase in price for both of those shows, especially Raw, obviously from 465 to 700 [million]. As far as SmackDown goes, time will tell. There’s a feeling that FOX is not going to go for the 300, which is what WWE is trying to get out of Smackdown or more, and that Disney and Amazon are probably the two companies most in contention for it. And if it’s Disney, I brought up ABC or probably FX.” [h/t Ringside News].