Variety has an update on WWE's ongoing negotiations for a new domestic television distribution agreement. According to their report, WWE and NBCUniversal stepped away from negotiations without a new deal. Below is a statement the company issued to Variety:
“WWE’s exclusive negotiating period with NBCU for our flagship television programs, ‘Raw’ and ‘SmackDown,’ has now expired,”
“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 recognize the value of having the #1 show on cable and live content delivered 52 weeks a year.”
WWE is free to negotiate with other companies and a new deal with NBCU could still be reached once WWE explores all of their options. Variety reports that WWE is considering multiple plans for its shows and that includes airing them all with a single family of networks or splitting them up across multiple network owners.
The main goal is still to significantly increase the $139.5 million in TV licensing fees that WWE currently earns each year for their shows. They want to get closer to the deals that the major sports organizations command for live programming. WWE will also offer up Smackdown as a live show, a change from the current format where the show is taped earlier in the week before it airs Friday nights on SyFy.
Both Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown will continue to air on the USA Network and SyFy in their current form through September 30, 2014.
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