News On WWE's TV Deals: SmackDown Going Live?, Who's In The Running, Deadlines, TNA's Future

Source: Variety

Variety has an article about WWE's current television deals expiring early next year. According to the article, the rights for RAW, SmackDown, Main Event, Saturday Morning Slam and Total Divas will all expire simultaneously so that the company can secure higher rights fees than the $139.5 million they are currently receiving.

Any new licensing deal would include digital next-day rights, which would essentially end WWE's deal with Hulu. WWE is also willing to air SmackDown live and move it to another night (likely Tuesday, when it currently tapes) if it can get a better fee, since the cost to produce the show would increase.

The company is using Nascar as a benchmark for their new deal, which signed a $820 million per year 10-year deal with NBC and Fox. The article noted that Nascar airs 154 races a year and averages a 1.38 household rating, while WWE airs 156 episodes averaging a 2.2 household rating. The article also noted that 90% of RAW and SmackDown viewers watch the show live or within the next day.

NBC Universal has until February 15, 2014 to make a decision on WWE's final offer. Other bids must be submitted by February 28, 2014 and WWE plans to select their media partners by March 4th, 2014. If WWE does make a deal with another media partner, their programming would move that October.

Another interesting note is that WWE has apparently already held meetings or reached out to Viacom, Disney, A&E, 21st Century Fox and Discovery. Viacom owns Spike TV, which airs Impact Wrestling. If WWE were to sign a deal with Viacom, that would leave TNA without a national television presence.

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