After recently announcing a deal to air on Vice TV, MLW have now got an official start date on the channel - May 1.
Ahead of MLW’s inaugural broadcast on Vice, MLW owner Court Bauer spoke more on the Vice deal with Wrestling Inc. Dailysaying:
“We had a few go arounds with them. We actually spoke with them first, with our agency, about last winter. So like, January/February of 2020. Then the pandemic hit, and everybody’s game plan for - whether on our side of the conversation or the network or streaming partner - it all changed.
“Budgets got weird, ad dollars got weird; everything got weird. Everything became a big question mark. And also from our end, they wanted to know when we could run and we didn’t have those answers for awhile. So like a lot of conversations we hoped we could revisit them and move forward. We were able to reignite the conversation down the road and we’re really happy with that.
“Ever since January it seemed like we’d just had some really interesting conversations that are still in play with other things we’re working on. We’re working on more than just this. But this is a big one for us; we’re excited about it.”
Interestingly, Bauer says WWE’s deal with Peacock helped get the Vice deal over the line for MLW:
“We had a few things hit. Some optimism, just ‘hey, there’s a vaccine, now there’s a few vaccines. Now there’s light at the end of the tunnel.’ Budgets start to thaw out a bit, which is nice. And then what happened which I thought was great was the Peacock deal. [WWE President] Nick Khan did an amazing job talking about the upside of being in business with WWE and wrestling in general. And really just, when he was doing the courtship for this tentpole deal, which ended up being a bigger and more ambitious deal with Peacock, part of the process was getting people warmed up and interested in wrestling. He did a hell of a job with his deals with Fox and of course with Peacock. And by saying they’re exiting conversations and completed their discussions, there’s still one free agent (MLW) left in the room. That was a great opportunity for us to knock on some doors or open conversations or reopen conversations. And that’s what’s keeping me busy to this day is keeping these conversations.
“We have our broadcast deal, we have opportunities in the streaming space. But we also have opportunities still in the linear broadcasting/cable space. It’s like the NBA, NFL, PBC and boxing; it’s not necessarily one place you’re with. You can be with Fox, ESPN; you can be with all these different places, depending where you are. A league, and that’s the beauty of a sports league, can have many partners. And we’re really excited with the Vice partnership, because it just meshes perfectly with where we want to be with the product and the sensibility and culture of what they do.”
So May 1 then?
“MLW’s presence will hit in May,” Bauer said. “We’re going to be putting that out, the exact date, very soon…you know what? F**k it; it’s May 1. That’s when you’re first going to see MLW. This isn’t like new footage, it’s just the library so you can see the 2020 stuff.”