The announcement on this past week’s WWE Monday Night Raw by new storyline owner Donald Trump that next week’s show would be live and commercial free for the first time ever was something the USA Network had been in talks of doing for the last few weeks in something of an experiment reports The Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
One of the reasons for trying it out is to see what not having commercials will do for the TV ratings since a large percentage of Raw viewers tend to look elsewhere during commercial breaks. The other assumption is that USA is doing this since Raw has not been winning its time slot on cable as of late losing out to shows like “The Closer” and others.
It should be noted that USA pays WWE around $550,000 per week for rights fees to Raw and in exchange the idea is that USA makes it money back by selling the commercial time. So basically they will be losing around $550,000 in addition to other expenses they incur under the contract over a week period. Whether or not it will make a big difference remains to be seen as the network has done many things like this to boost ratings such as last year’s “McMahon’s Million Dollar Mania” contest.