NBC Universal’s exclusive negotiating window with World Wrestling Entertianment expired last week, and for the first time there has been confirmation via a party involved that no deal was reached to extend the current partnership.
In a statement released to Variety, WWE acknowledged that the sides could not agree to a new deal during the window, and that the company is beginning the process of negotiating with other potential suitors.
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.
The report from Variety also mentions that “Raw” and “Smackdown” will continue to air on their current NBCU networks until September 30th. Also, NBCU does have the right to match any deal offered from any other network before WWE can accept another offer.
Other rumored companies expected to have interest in acquiring WWE programming are Disney, Fox, and Viacom. More information should be known later this week when the WWE releases its fourth quarter earnings report.