Professional Wrasslin’ Is Serious Business
In 2018 World Wrestling Entertainment renewed its flagship show Monday Night Raw, with NBC/Universal’s USA Network for five years to the tune of $265 million annually, and a similar deal with Fox for $205 million for its Smackdown brand. That same year they also partnered with The Saudi General Sports Authority in a highly controversial move where they would hold two event shows annually at what was rumored to be $50 million a pop over ten years.
Now after several years of rumblings the WWE has been shopping around its streaming network to everyone from ESPN (Disney) to Amazon, they announced on Monday that they would be folding it into NBCU’s fledgling Peacock service’s premium tier on March 18 (weeks before this year’s Wrestlemania) for $4.99, or $9.99 a month if you’re not down with ads. The deal, much like those for Raw and Smackdown, is set for five years and would net them north of a billion dollars.
WWE Network has been $9.99 since it debuted in early 2014, and now subscribers have access to all of their content along with everything Peacock offers including the English Premier League, it’s a seemingly great deal on paper…but, there are those who have reservations.
Speculation was, if the WWE ever folded into another streaming service it would revert to a more traditional PPV model for its big four pay-per-views (the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, and the Survivor Series) and charge a premium price much like the UFC or rival upstart All Elite Wrestling. That would be one hell of a bait and switch, so soon after yesterday’s announcement however. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but I imagine both NBCU and the WWE would like to see how much of a boost this gives them as Peacock has been struggling to take off and the pandemic has hit not just the WWE, but wrestling in general hard over the last year.
Before we entered this dark age of social distancing wrestling was actually amidst a bit of a resurgence with over sixteen hours of content being aired weekly from seven promotions, not including PPV, or the countless indie promotions across the globe.
It will be interesting to see if it can bounce back.
Thanks for the info Shermdawg. If any more of our Outposters have something they want to write about from the world of TV, movies or entertainment then drop us a line at [email protected]