UPDATE x 2: WWE’s exclusive negotiating window with Comcast to sign a new deal ends today (Friday) and no deal is believed to have been officially set yet. As previously reported, the company timed their contracts so that all of their series–RAW, SmackDown, Total Divas and Main Event–would end at the same time, putting them all as part of the negotiations and making it a giant package. The company has reportedly been in contact with other companies including A&E, Disney, Viacom, 21st Century Fox and Discovery about a potential deal.
Should WWE not agree with Comcast’s final offer, the company will still have the chance to match any outside offers as previously reported. WWE will announce their new deal in April or May, with any potential move of their programming happening in early October.
UPDATE: The New York Post reports that February 14th is the deadline for NBC Universal to make an acceptable offer to WWE that will keep the company’s programming on their networks. If a deal is not reached by next Friday, WWE will start looking for offers from other networks. WWE has it set so that all of their TV deals expire at the same time so that they can sell them as a package deal. That’s what just happened in the UK and they made out HUGE (see below).
According to sources, no deal has been made at this time. While WWE appreciates its relationship with NBCU and does not want to move if it doesn’t have to, they will move it if NBCU doesn’t make the offer that the company wants. With the replays of RAW and SmackDown being available via the WWE Network, WWE doesn’t feel that it will have a problem with people finding the programming if they have to move networks. Vince McMahon had previously stated that they were going for a large increase in TV rights fees, and noted that their programming has been undervalued. The downside for WWE is that if they turn down NBC Universal’s offer, and do not get a better offer in the open market, they will have to go back to NBC Universal, who will then have all of the negotiating power as WWE would have basically screwed them over by turning down their first offer. It’s a complicated situation to say the least but this is how things work with TV contracts.
ORIGINAL: As previously reported, WWE signed a new TV deal with Sky Sports to air their programming on UK television. Here are the details on that deal.
* The new contract is for five years, lasting into 2019.
* With the new deal, the TV rights fees jumped to three times the previous amount. Basically, WWE made out BIG time with $$$.
* Sky Sports will air RAW, SmackDown, NXT, Superstars and Main Event each week, with recap shows and replays.
* In previous years, Sky showed select PPVs for free, with others being shown as a traditional PPV for an extra fee as special events. This time around, the new deal does not include any free PPV events. All 12 WWE PPV events will buy-only PPV shows, costing approximately $25 US per show.
* WWE had hoped for big TV rights fees increases this year, and the UK deal gets them off to a good start.