Big sports opportunity for another network.
According to Belloni, WWE and NBCUniversal are working on a TV rights deal for Raw that would triple the value of their current contract, so NBCUniversal would then allow SmackDown Live to go to the highest bidder.
It sounds like NBCUniversal is able to afford airing Raw only so Smackdown Live may have to find a new network to call home.More news: 'Serial' Heads to HBO for 'The Case Against Adnan Syed'
NBCUniversal is willing to lose the television rights to SmackDown Live while maintaining its relationship with WWE to air Raw on USA Network, The Hollywood Reporter's Matthew Belloni reported Wednesday.
NBCU and WWE declined to comment on the negotiations.
NBCU took over the rights for SmackDown in 2010, and started airing the show on SyFy before moving it to USA Network in 2016.More news: Coinbase Introduces Coinbase Suite of Institutional Products
The last time WWE negotiated a new rights deal in 2014, the company made a decision to re-sign with NBC Universal to continue airing Raw and SmackDown on USA Network and SyFy respectively.
This won't be the first time both Raw and Smackdown will be on different TV channels as the shows were separated in the early '00s. Fox secured the rights to Thursday Night Football this year for a huge five-year, $550 million deal, and Fox is expected to invest heavily in live sports programming as it divests itself of its sister production company 21st Century Fox Television in Fox's sale with Disney. Back in 2012, Major League Baseball, Fox Sports Media Group and Turner Broadcasting entered an eight-year national media rights deal for postseason games said to be worth $12.4 billion.More news: High court ruling permits sports betting in all states