In an effort to re-up its television deal with WWE, NBCUniversal is considering creating a physical Hall of Fame for the company at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., according to a report from the New York Post.
The WWE inducts legendary wrestlers into its Hall of Fame on an annual basis the night before WrestleMania, but does not have a physical building to house it like the Pro Football Hall of Fame does in Canton, Ohio.
NBCU's exclusive negotiating period with WWE for a new deal expires Feb. 1. Apparently, the approaching deadline has prompted NBCU to sweeten its offer to WWE. A physical Hall of Fame is reportedly that sweetener. According to the New York Post, no concrete offer has been made in the negotiations.
After the exclusive negotiating period expires, NCBU has the right to match any offer that is made to WWE from another television conglomerate. WWE believes that it can as much as triple its current television deal, which is $140 million, given its weekly ratings and global reach. Experts familiar with the situation agree.
“[WWE is] unbelievably undervalued given the ratings, the demographics and their multi-cultural viewership — and it’s 52 weeks a year,” a source familiar with WWE told the New York Post. “I would guess it stays where it is.”
NBCU currently carries both of WWE’s flagship programs, Raw and Smackdown. Smackdown is one of the highest rated programs on NBCU’s SyFy channel and Raw is one of the most-watched programs in all of cable. All of this makes WWE a hot commodity to television networks and could provide some stiff competition to NBCU. WWE is reportedly prepared to make a decision by March 4.