Report: Amazon, Facebook Interested in Bidding for WWE Raw, SmackDown Rights

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Vince McMahon attends WWE Superstars for Sandy Relief at Cipriani, Wall Street on April 4, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for WWE)
Brad Barket/Getty Images

WWE may move Raw and SmackDown to another television network when the company's contract with USA Network and NBCUniversal expires in 2019, Variety's Kristopher Tapley reported Monday. 

According to Tapley, Fox is among the companies considering making a bid for Raw and SmackDown's television rights, while Amazon and Facebook are showing interest as well.

In a statement to Tapley, WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon praised the company's current deal with NBCUniversal but stopped short of committing to staying there in the future.

"We are incredibly happy with our partnership with USA," 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."

Raw, in particular, has become a staple on USA for fans in the United States. WWE's flagship show has called the network home for the bulk of its 25-year run. SmackDown, on the other hand, only moved to USA Network in July 2016.

Regardless of what WWE ultimately decides, the impending expiration of its contract with NBCUniversal seemingly provides a chance to alter its current programming format.

The most obvious change would be cutting Raw back to two hours, since the addition of a third hour in July 2012 has largely come to the show's detriment. WWE could also move NXT to terrestrial television, though it's one of the bigger selling points for the WWE Network.

Joining up with Amazon or Facebook could lead to more experiments such as the Mixed Match Challenge, which kicked off on Facebook Watch last Tuesday.

Should WWE maintain the status quo with Raw and SmackDown when it signs its next television contract, it could be a major missed opportunity.

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