There have been rumblings for months about the future of WWE Programming on network television. The contracts for both WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE SmackDown were up this year, and up until this point, they have yet to be renewed; however, Variety is reporting that the Sports Entertainment giant is nearing a deal with NBC Universal that you keep both shows on their current homes.
Although financial details of the deal have not yet been disclosed, analysts on Wall Street believe WWE has been able to double the licensing fees for its shows. In 2013, it earned $160.9 million from broadcast rights around the world, and $139.5 million in 2012. Just how long the shows will air on NBCUniversal’s channels under the new pact also has not yet been revealed.”
Right now, it is unknown just how close they are to finalizing the deal, but if there was ever a time like the present, that time is now. All of the major networks have been participating in this year’s Upfronts where all the major networks announce their lineups for the upcoming season.
One would expect that if WWE Raw were to stay on the USA Network and WWE SmackDown were to remain on SyFy, they would want a deal in place before their presentation at the Upfronts.
I am sure that one of the biggest sticking points right now are licensing agreements. There has been a lot of debate as to when the WWE will be allowed to rebroadcast their live programming on the WWE Network after it has aired on its respective channel.
To some degree, I am surprised that with all the live television programming that the new WWE Network offers that the company hasn’t made a move to relocate their two flagship programs to the Network; however, I can see the appeal of keeping the series on a cable network as well. Can you say advertising revenue?
Variety is also reporting that there is a possibility of WWE SmackDown taking a page out of the book of its Monday counterpart WWE Monday Night Raw and airing live. This is something that I think should have been going on since the very beginning.
What do you think the eventual fate of WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE SmackDown is going to be? Do you think they will remain on television, or do you think they will need to make the shift to the WWE Network? Let us know what you think in the comments below.