WWE Programming Stays With NBC Universal

By Damian Seeto
John Cena on Raw
Image from John Cena – WWE Universe Facebook

NBC Universal is set to keep WWE on their channels as both sides have reached a new agreement.

NBC Universal owns USA Network and Syfy channels, which are both on cable television. Raw will stay as three hours on USA Network while Smackdown will stay on Friday nights on Syfy. The deal is for several years, but an exact number was not given.

WWE initially wanted to shop around to see if they could reach a new TV deal with other networks. There was some concern for TNA Wrestling when rumors floated around that WWE would end up on Spike TV. If that had come true, TNA would be dropped and they would have lost even more money.

WWE wanted to double or even triple their previous TV rights. WWE failed to do that as their current TV rights have only increased to around $200 million. They managed to reach new TV deals in the UK and Thailand too.

Raw continues to rate well for USA Network, although the ratings haven’t been too great. The ratings are stable, but are a fraction of what the show got several years ago. The same is for Smackdown as ratings are steady, but haven’t moved an inch in recent years.

WWE is probably proud they manage to secure a new TV deal with NBC Universal anyway. TV rights earn the company millions of dollars per year. If WWE moved Raw and Smackdown exclusively to the WWE Network, they would have to rely heavily on subscription numbers. This would be risky as customers obviously don’t have the amount of money a TV network has.

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