[WWE] More on WWE’s Impending Deal with NBC-Universal

At the heels of one of the year’s biggest cable trade shows, NCTA, it looks like WWE is getting ready to announce plans to go back to USA Network — as previously reported here.

Broadcasting & Cable trade magazine is reporting in a story that can be found here that:

– “The network is laying out plenty of inducements — including an affiliation with parent company NBC Universal’s theme parks — in its negotiations.”

– SpikeTV still retains the right to match any USA offer.

– According to SEC filings, WWE was collecting $31 million annually from SpikeTV, with WWE selling the ad time itself.

– While USA isn’t offering any big hike in the fee, it is “instead relying on deal sweeteners, such as matches carried on NBC U’s Telemundo Spanish-language network; wrestling specials on NBC; and wrestling-based attractions and promotions at Universal’s theme parks.”

– Book publishing and a WWE reality show were used to entice WWE to sign with Viacom’s TNN (now Spike) back in 2000, when the cable network took WWE programming from USA. TNN also tripled WWE’s license fee.

– Today’s ratings are usually in the mid- to high 3s, while in 2000 they were peaking at 6.0. But they still are a huge cable rating for the coveted male demographic.