– Variety has published a story detailing the look at WWE’s ongoing negotiations for their TV shows here in the United States. The story notes, for the first time in its history, WWE will shop the rights for all of its TV shows at the same time. They can either go as a package deal or be sold off separately to the highest bidder. The story covered the fact that WWE has quietly lined up its respective deals for its programs so that they would expire at the same time, which has never happened before. That gives the company a better position to bargain from.
The piece also features quotes from top employees within the company about how the promotion has evolved their thinking and now see the product as being similar to live sports, which is one of the few genres that currently gets a majority of viewers to not time shift when they watch. This makes the programming worth a lot more money since a majority of advertisers commercials are seen. WWE now markets its shows in the same manner and thus feels the rights fees are worth far more money.
Currently, WWE gets roughly $139.5 million a year for its programming. As Vince McMahon mentioned at the last stockholders conference call, he guaranteed to at least double that figure with the new deals.
The story also said that WWE would have no issue with making SmackDown a live broadcast, to increase its value. Next day airing rights will also be part of the new deal, so for the first time there will be consistent second showings of WWE programming.
NBC Universal has already made an offer to the company and they have until February 15th to accept or reject their final offer. After that, they will take offers from other networks until February 28th.