WWE has been a staple in the entertainment industry for close to three decades now. WWE RAW has been a massive show for them. Today, we have a live RAW every week barring European Tours when it is slight tape delay. WWE loves to use the show as their mark for success, seeing as it's on one of the biggest nights for TV, Monday, and has been successful for decades each week.
USA Network was the first network to air WWE RAW. WWE decided to go to Spike TV for a couple of years, but in 2005 the WWE returned to USA and has been there since. They also managed to work things out to where they could explore the use of the entire NBCU banner. They ended up moving WWE SmackDown to SyFy, where it has been their #1 show since.
WWE has also enjoyed the use of E! for Total Divas, and the CW for Saturday Morning Slam. WWE Network houses a various amount of other shows from the past as well as present. Really, WWE has created a major conglomerate outside of WWE RAW...however it all started with RAW really.
While WWE did well with Saturday shows and of course, managed to become a staple in wrestling after WrestleMania began, the first real success that WWE enjoyed for TV consistently was WWE RAW. Vince McMahon, the WWE Owner, CEO, and Chairman, saw the massive success and decided to make the WWE publicly traded in 2000.
WWE became a figure quickly in the stock market and has remained a big figure there for years. In fact, in 2013 and 2014, stock prices for WWE had never been higher.
WWE takes all of it's success, and sees that it deserves far more than it is getting from TV. WWE brilliantly decided that they would make all of their major shows expire with the networks at the same time...this included both SmackDown and RAW. The #1 shows for USA and SyFy respectfully.
NBC Universal realized that they needed to keep RAW.
According to The Wrestling Observer Bonnie Hammer of NBC recently discussed how USA Network has profited over $1 billion over the past two years. Understand that this means WWE profited $500 million per year with RAW alone for NBC. Yet NBC paid them under $200 million per year, so out of that billion, WWE did not even see half. You can see how WWE didn't see that adding up for them.
The USA Network is also starting to finalize their fall schedule of TV shows. Obviously WWE and NBC have not agreed to terms, so there is no definite answer yet, but USA is planning on building around WWE RAW on Monday nights.
WWE has done a lot for USA and NBC alone. The proof is there that WWE is a billion dollar company and yet NBC Universal does not want to pay them what they are worth just yet. WWE wants to get a lot out of this naturally.
Viacom has heavy interest in getting WWE back, this seemed to wake NBC back up which is why many think NBC will up their TV Rights price highly to keep WWE RAW and other shows under the NBC banner.
Overall, WWE could benefit from NASCAR as NBC and FOX signed on to pay the sports franchise $800 million per year for 10 years. Interesting note is that NASCAR is not bringing in near the amount of money they are worth, averaging on network TV, under a 2.0 rating. Meanwhile WWE for all of their shows combined average a 2.2 or better. WWE RAW gets in the 3.0's consistently and has seen 4.0's and even 6.0's since being on USA.
NASCAR also broadcasts around 160 races on per year, where WWE does 52 alone with RAW, then another 52 for SmackDown, then they have Total Divas, Main Event, NXT, and any other special they have. This doesn't even include PPVs. So WWE does more and gets better ratings and far more ad money, yet they get paid less?
WWE realizes that if NASCAR can get that kind of money for a much lower demographic base and rating, then they should get higher for their higher demo and rating. It only seems fair.
If WWE were to get $800 million to $1 billion per year for all of their shows, the NBC Universal banner would profit highly and WWE would too. If NBC decided to use WWE more often on the NBC network, they could pull in major ratings as well. This may be a thought for WWE when negotiating with NBC.
Currently, WWE does have Viacom interest and rumors of Discovery and Disney have been surfacing as well. WWE would love to stick with NBC, of course. However if they are paid more to go somewhere else, WWE will take the highest bidder, as it's just business. WWE looks to be in the driver's seat, and the peddle is pushed all the way to the floor. Whether NBC keeps them or not is if they can catch up to the price WWE wants to stop and stay with them.