WWE is in that wonderful point of time where they can now begin negotiating with companies about possibly putting their television shows on their network. WWE has usually remained put, but they have proven in the past that they will jump around networks. The most prominent example of this happened when WWE left USA Network, their original home, for TNN.
TNN would eventually go on to become Spike TV, and RAW would easily become its highest rated show. WWE would depart from Spike to head back to USA Network under the NBC Universal banner that they are with today. Each time, they seemed to always up their price per year. In 2014, WWE had an interest in going to other places outside USA Network once again.
The thought was that since NASCAR was paid so much for less ratings, on network TV of all places, WWE would likely get something similar. WWE would sign for a little over $160 million per year for their American television partner. They would go on to develop the three hour RAW and even add WWE SmackDown Live to the network. Now, time has come to start negotiating for a new TV deal.
While ratings have somewhat suffered since their last deal, WWE still remains a solid ratings winner for USA Network. NBCU would not want to lose WWE, so it is likely they would go up to keep them. It now looks likely that NBCU will be paying a good chunk of money in order to do it.
FOX Sports Ups Their Offer Big Time To Bring In WWE
We all knew FOX was getting in on the WWE market dating back to last year, but WWE was not going to be able to meet with anyone outside NBCU until Feb. 2018, or now. NBCU is expected to up their offer, but in order to beat what NBCU may consider doing, FOX has now offered a huge sum WWE may have to really consider.
According to PW Stream, FOX offered $250 million per year to WWE for their flagship product, WWE RAW. This is nearly $100 million more per year than their current contract with NBCU. It is likely they'll go up as well. According to previous reports, FOX is prepared to go up to the likes of $400-500 million per year if they have to.
In fact, FOX has a major interest to even buy WWE outright from Vince McMahon and the remaining ownership parties. Triple H has claimed Vince will even listen to offers, though WWE is not up for sale and they're likely to not sell at all. FOX still does have an interest, so it will make sense for them to offer a generous TV deal right now at least.
Other Parties Likely To Bid For WWE Programming
However, NBCU is not expected to let WWE go without a fight and has been prepared to bid for WWE and even offer other opportunities. Though they have been a great partner for WWE for some time now. Currently, they're talking about not only removing the third hour of RAW but giving that hour to WWE NXT which would give half their programming week to the company. Not many networks would even consider this.
Other parties outside FOX that have shown some interest include streaming services, and most importantly Facebook. Facebook is already showing an original program through FB Watch called The Mixed Match Challenge. While it has not seen the results WWE or Facebook wanted, the theory is that this could always improve especially with the flagship show for the brand.
Others that have had rumored interest in the past include Amazon, and to no one's shock, Disney. However, FOX looks like the leader here with their most recent offer and their prepared offers upcoming.