Analyst talks about WWE Smackdown possibly leaving FOX when contract expires

During an appearance on the Wrestling Inc Daily podcast, Brandon Thurston of talked about the recent WWE 2021 Q1 Earnings Call and what President Nick Khan talked about…

“I think the biggest takeaway is the hype that he added around the idea that Amazon and Apple might get into bidding for live sports rights. So I read that as a coded message to FOX. ‘We’re going to shop SmackDown somewhat aggressively when the deal comes up to be renegotiated.’ That’ll probably start to be renegotiated late next year 2022, and if previous rounds of negotiation are any indication, they’ll announce the deal maybe the spring of 2023. So it sounds like Nick Khan is saying, ‘We’re going to be really interested in negotiating and trying to get the best value possible for SmackDown’.

I think Raw stays with NBCUniversal just because of how deep the relationship is between WWE and NBCUniversal with Raw, NXT and reality programming. But I think there’s a good chance that WWE will shop around SmackDown and maybe it goes to FOX, but maybe it goes to Amazon or Apple, who are among the biggest companies in the world and can certainly afford to pay a great deal of money if they’re looking to invest further in their streaming services (Prime and Apple TV) to get ahead in this competitive streaming space.”