Variety has an excellent article regarding the upcoming WWE negotiations over their television shows RAW, Smackdown, Main Event, Saturday Morning Slam, and Total Divas.
All shows are up for renewal at the same time, something that WWE has done for the first time after two years of “quietly lining up rights to expire simultaneously in an effort to secure higher fees.”
Variety says that negotiations and bids cannot take place until February 15 when NBC Universal, the current holder of WWE TV rights, accepts or rejects WWE’s offer. Other bids are due on February 28 with WWE selecting the winner on March 4. Whatever the outcome will be, all shows will stay on the current network until October 2014, and after that, if a new network comes in, everything will move.
Apart from television rights of all their shows, WWE is also including a new licensing deal for next-day rights online, giving the winning network the ability to stream the WWE shows on their website or mobile app. Currently shows air online on Hulu Plus and with this new agreement Hulu is set to lose out on WWE shows.
WWE, according to Variety, is also considering doing Smackdown live, depending how much money the company gets in the new deal.
Apart from NBC Universal, A&E, Disney, Viacom, 21st Century Fox and Discovery have all been in contact to potentially host the WWE shows.
Currently WWE get $139.5 million a year in TV licensing fees but they are trying to close the gap to a similar deal NASCAR got with NBC and Fox. While WWE airs 156 episodes a year with an average of 2.2 rating, NASCAR airs 154 races and a 1.38 average rating with the difference that NASCAR gets $820 million per year for their current 10 year deal.
You can read the original Variety article at here.