Apr 2, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns during Wrestlemania Night 2 at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When WWE president Nick Khan and chief content officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque reportedly missed WWE Raw last week to work on the show’s new TV rights deal, many assumed that meant a new agreement was close.

But according to one high ranking executive at TKO Group Holdings — the company formed by WWE’s merger with UFC — that’s not necessarily the case.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, TKO president and chief operating officer Mark Shaprio discussed the ongoing negotiations for Raw‘s TV rights. And while many have assumed that an agreement is coming sooner rather than later, Shapiro said that the negotiations could continue all the way through the remainder of the current deal with NBC Universal, which is set to expire in October 2024.

“There’s no necessarily shiny point of when or if we’ll go,” Shapiro said. “We can be flexible, we can be patient. Our job is to maximize the rights value of Raw. And I would tell you at the same time, just remember that we do all the production. We just feed. You kind of take it in and you air it or you charge for it. So we can literally wait until the night before [the current deal expires] if we want to wait to decide where we’re going to go in the next deal.”

While the prospect of not needing to make a deal right now conceivably gives WWE leverage in its negotiations, waiting until the day before the current deal expires — or anything resembling that timeline — obviously isn’t ideal. It’s also worth noting that WWE has already reached new agreements for SmackDown (NBC Universal) and NXT (The CW), despite both of their current deals not expiring until next October.

As for where Raw will end up, WWE’s flagship show has been linked to Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal and of course, there are streaming options. Despite Shaprio’s comments (which, again, behoove WWE’s negotiating position) all indications are that we won’t have to wait long — and certainly not until next October — for a new deal to be announced.

[Brandon Thurston on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.