Report: WWE Finalizing New Deal To Remain With NBCUniversal, Announcement Expected

Variety is reporting that WWE is finalizing a new deal with NBCUniversal to keep Raw and Smackdown on the USA Network and SyFy respectively.

Financial details of the new agreement are not yet available, however, the belief is WWE was able to double the licensing fees for its programming. The company earned $160.9 million in TV licensing fees around the world in 2013 and $139.5 million in 2012.

An official announcement could come as soon as Thursday afternoon from NBCUniversal Cable’s Upfront in New York City.

WWE’s current deal is set to expire at the end of September.

Click here for coverage by Variety.

Richard Reacts: It is absolutely no surprise that WWE’s programming will not be leaving NBCUniversal in the United States. I was told early on in the negotiations that FOX, Turner and Viacom pulled out of negotiations relatively early. WWE had expected suitors to be “lined up” to bid on their programming, expecting a major deal like NASCAR’s 10-year $820 million a year with NBC and Fox, however, that wasn’t exactly the case. Fox showed little interest in getting into pro wrestling, Turner executives still see WCW as a reason to stay away from the business and Viacom felt they were getting played.

In February, WWE and NBCU were still “far apart on price” when the company hired Chris Bevilacqua, head of media advisory firm Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures, to negotiate the deal. According to Variety’s report, it appears WWE was able to obtain satisfactory results.

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  • Vic Jose

    Paying $820 million for a “sport” (if you can call it that) in which vehicles continuously drive around in circles is flat out stupid. Why anyone watches that i’ll never know.

    • John

      The reason FOX/NBC paid so much for NASCAR is because they needed major sports programming to compete with ESPN, not necessarily because it was worth that much. Here in the UK, BT Sport just paid £897 million (1.5 billion US $) for the rights to the UEFA Champions League, taking it away from Sky Sports. Of course, much like FOX/NBC, they paid way over the odds for those exclusive rights, but they needed it to compete with the opposition.

      I think WWE were being very ambitious to expect someone to pay them huge money for TV rights.. They aren’t a real sports league and won’t ever be treated as one by the major networks.

  • http://www.braysballtalk.com/ Aaron Giddens

    I wish Fox and Turner would have tried harder. Seeing Pro Wrestling return to TNT and TBS would have been interesting.