The WWE has one week left of their exclusive deal with NBCUniversal, and the New York Post reported on Feb. 8 that if NBCUniversal doesn't offer a contract deal that the WWE likes by Friday, the WWE can negotiate with any other network and possibly leave NBCUniversal.
The WWE was smart in their last negotiations for television deals because they made sure that their deal for all television shows ("WWE Monday Night Raw," "WWE Smackdown" and "WWE Main Event") all expired at the same time. This means that the WWE can negotiate a package deal for all their shows.
The WWE wants a big deal because they feel they have been undervalued for years. They believe they can make any network they move "WWE Monday Night Raw" to a Top 5 network. They did so for the USA Network and when they left for a short time last decade, USA Network slipped in the ratings.
The expiring deal was for $140 million and NBCUniversal has until Friday to offer the WWE the raise in money they want. There are rumors that NBCUniversal might also offer the space to build a physical WWE Hall of Fame in the deal.
In 2011, NBC Sports and Versus announced a ten-year extension for the NHL which paid the NHL around $2 billion through the 2021 season, which averages out to $200 million a year, although it was on a climbing scale. That is what the WWE is basing their negotiations on, feeling they are just as valuable for U.S. viewers as the NHL.
If NBCUniversal is unable to make the WWE happy, they can then reject their offer and then negotiate with other networks. However, if the other networks don't make good offers, the WWE may have to return to NBCUniversal and then they would lose their leverage.
It should be noted that the success of the WWE Network will play into this as well. The WWE estimated that if the four million people who watched the old school episode of "WWE Monday Night Raw" subscribed to the WWE Network, the company would make the same profit the company made last year just from subscriptions. If that were the case, the WWE could just move the shows to the WWE Network and off cable altogether.