Major update on WWE’s TV deals
Dec 17, 2013 - by Steve Gerweck
If USA Network wants to retain its biggest hit, “Monday Night Raw,” it’s gonna have to pay.
Next month, for the first time, WWE will shop the rights to “Raw” and all of its shows at the same time — a list of weekly series that includes Syfy’s “Friday Night SmackDown,” “Main Event” on ION Television, the CW’s “Saturday Morning Slam” and reality show “Total Divas” on E!
The goal is to significantly increase the $139.5 million in TV licensing fees WWE earns each year for its shows, and attempt to get closer to the rich network deals that sports organizations like the NBA, NHL NASCAR, as well as soccer command.
In the past, deals for WWE’s series were brokered individually on a staggered timeline, usually every three to four years or so. But WWE has spent nearly two years quietly lining up rights to expire simultaneously in an effort to secure higher fees and appease shareholders who have grown increasingly frustrated that the company’s TV deals are not worth more at a time when live “event” programming is more valuable than ever.
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