It appears that SmackDown’s television rights are up for sale, according to PopCulture. Mattew Belloni from the Hollywood Reporter claims that NBC is letting WWE find SmackDown a new home, but is also preparing a massive offer to prevent RAW from moving.
While WWE’s current NBC Universal deal only expires in September 2019, rumors have already started swirling, including a move to FOX.
But it looks like WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios, who appeared at the 46th Annual J.P. Morgan Global Technology, might have predicted Belloni’s report.
“From our end, [we don’t think] it’s an issue to split it,” he said. “We have done it before. We think we’re pretty good at promoting and moving our viewers from one platform to another. Seven or eight years ago, it was only from one network to another network, which changed dramatically. We can’t over-emphasize it, is the nature of social and digital and helping do that.”
“So, we’ve been able to do it before, we would feel even more comfortable doing it today just because we have a direct connection with all our fans which we did not have seven or eight years ago,” he continued. “So, our ability to do that, if it made sense economically, there were partners interested, if we felt comfortable with the partners in question, operationally we would not see an issue with doing that.”