The exclusive bargaining window between the WWE and NBC Universal to keep the WWE programming on their networks elapsed. According to Wrestle View on Feb. 18, this means that the WWE can now negotiate with other networks and possibly move their programming later this year.
This is huge news for the WWE who believes they have been underpaid for their television shows for years and deserve to make close to what the NHL's latest contracts paid them. The WWE believes that they hold the cards.
The USA Network has finished as the number one cable network in the nation for eight years in a row. It should come as no surprise that the first year that "WWE Monday Night Raw" returned to the USA Network after five years on a rival network is the first year that USA jumped into first place in the ratings wars.
The WWE has been bringing in around four million viewers per episode of "WWE Monday Night Raw" and that is one of the things keeping USA on top. According to WWE chief strategy officer and CFO George Barrios, if the WWE left the USA Network, he predicts that the network would fall to fourth or fifth in the ratings.
If the WWE were to move to a network like TNT, TBS or FX, they could probably move that network into the top of the ratings based on average viewers in 2013.
The WWE can still negotiate with NBC Universal, although they want a lot of money and a home for all their shows since they smartly worked their last contracts to let them all expire at the same time. If another network makes a bid, NBC Universal can match it and keep the WWE as well.