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Raw, Smackdown up for grabs as NBCU window closes

WWESports entertainment media group WWE has effectively made flagship weekly shows Raw and Smackdown available to the highest bidder after an exclusivity window for NBCUniversal closed.

Raw and Smackdown currently air on NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group channels USA Network and Syfy, respectively, but a 15-day exclusive negotiations window for renewal has now expired. This means rival channels can now bid for the rights.

“WWE’s exclusive negotiating period with NBCU for our flagship television programs Raw and Smackdown has now expired,” the company announced in a statement. While we were unable to reach an agreement with NBCU during this period, we have certainly appreciated our long and productive partnership.

“With year-round, live programming that is highly coveted by programmers, distributors and advertisers, we are extremely excited about our future. We look forward to engaging with potential partners who recognise the value of having the number one show on cable and live content delivered 52 weeks a year.”

WWE earlier this year revealed it was launching a premium online pay TV channel in a bid to diversify its business model away from lucrative but threatened pay-per-view events.