According to Dave Meltzer on his subscriber only Wrestling Observer Radio show today, he's been told by his sources in the television industry that WWE has already cut a new deal with NBCUniversal for their programming and that WWE is going to allow NBCU to announce the big news this Thursday when they will announce their cable portfolio for the year ahead.
As we reported in February, NBCUniversal's exclusive negotiating period with WWE ended three months ago, at which point the company shopped around for a better deal, which NBCU would then have the right to match. It is believed that WWE always wanted to stay in the NBCU family, but felt the need to open up talks with other suitors to ensure they got the most lucrative contract possible out of NBCU. Disney, Viacom and 21st Century Fox, amongst others, had been rumoured to have serious interest in acquiring WWE's TV shows and thus it's likely WWE ended up with multiple offers to choose from.
The multi-million dollar question, of course, is the monetary terms of their new contract, given that WWE had promised their investors that they were confident that they would double or triple their rights fees. There's a very good shot that WWE achieved their goal, as the timing of the negotiations couldn't have been better, due to the USA Network's constant battle to stay the number one rated cable network in the country becoming much tougher in recent months. Indeed, without Monday Night Raw's massive audience they would have dropped from no. 2 to no. 7 in this week's standings. They also have the money to match anybody's offer, as USA's profits are over a billion dollars a year and NBCU aren't afraid of splashing their cash to keep major sport's franchises in their fold; just this week they announced a whopping $7.65 billion deal to keep the media rights to air the Olympic Games till 2032. WWE is small fry by comparison.
However, perhaps the biggest winners in this decision aren't the McMahon family themselves, but their rivals TNA. The nightmare scenario of WWE signing with Viacom and leaving them scrambling to find a new home for Impact, which was clearly a possibility, now is out of the question. This should lead to TNA quickly inking a new deal with Spike TV, which will guarantee the future of the promotion.