A recent article in Variety is stating Fox, Amazon, and Facebook are all vying for the rights to broadcast Raw or Smackdown. WWE’s contract with the USA Network ends in 2019. The increased interest in their product should give WWE more leverage in upcoming negotiations with USA and other potential suitors.
“We are incredibly happy with our partnership with USA,” Stephanie McMahon said, “In terms of what the future might hold, I guess we’ll see, but we’ve been very, very happy and I hope NBC is happy as well.”
Will WWE Leave the USA Network?
In terms of Raw or Smackdown ending up being a WWE Network exclusive, Stephanie seemed hesitant to say the company would consider going that route:
“We leverage a content ecosystem, so at the moment, it is absolutely relevant and necessary to have [our content] on linear platforms,” she says. “It is still reaching a broad audience and it’s still our most profitable line of business. One piece doesn’t work without the other. Ultimately, would ‘Raw’ and ‘SmackDown’ go to the WWE Network? Maybe. But that’s certainly not where we are now.”
There are also continued rumors that Fox (or another company) are interested in buying WWE outright. In the wake of the $4 billion UFC sale last year, anything is possible.