Report: WWE In Talks With ESPN Over Selling Pay-Per-View Rights
Could the WWE Network be on its last legs...
On Friday, ESPN announced they would be airing classic WrestleManias on Sunday nights over the next few weeks. WrestleMania 30 aired last night, which will be followed up by the less memorable WrestleMania 32 this weekend. WrestleMania 35 will then be broadcast ahead of night two of WrestleMania 36 on April 5.
The announcement caused many to wonder if WWE and ESPN were close to a streaming rights deal which would allow the TV network to air WWE pay-per-views on ESPN+. Vince McMahon announced back in January that the company was looking to sell their pay-per-view rights before the end of March, but this is looking increasingly unlikely.
Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that both parties were in discussions over WWE's pay-per-views, but they weren't close to coming to terms. Meltzer explained he has been told by a source that McMahon is looking for more per year than ESPN currently pays UFC, which would mean Vince believes his pay-per-views are worth more than $150 million per year.
Meltzer said: "They've been talking to ESPN all along. The only thing is, in a perfect world they would have started on ESPN+ with this year’s WrestleMania…What I’ve heard is they are far apart on money. Vince wants a figure, I don’t know if this is accurate, I know about the negotiations and all that but the figure I heard, I don’t know if it's accurate, but it's much higher than the UFC number."