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WWE In Talks With Other Streaming Providers About Selling Pay-Per-View Rights

The end is nigh...

Since WrestleMania 30, WWE's pay-per-views have been available on the WWE Network for 9.99 in the United States and around the world. This was ultimately much lower than their traditional pay-per-view model in which shows could cost up to $60 in the US, and £24.95 in the UK.

With WWE suffering from lower growth than expected and WWE Network subscriber numbers having stalled, the company is now in talks with other major streaming services to sell their pay-per-view rights, similar to UFC's arrangement with Fight Pass and ESPN+.

During WWE's Q4 2019 earnings conference call, Vince McMahon said: "We have a lot of options. We can continue as we are now with an enhancement of a free tier, a more enhanced paid tier, but we have that as an option. We also have an option, I mean right now, there’s no more better time to exercise, you know, the selling of our rights to all the majors and quite frankly, all the majors are really clamouring for our content, so that could be a significant increase, obviously, in terms of revenue."

WWE's CEO then revealed that a deal could be announced as early as next month. He added: "Making reference to OTT (streaming services) and the interest of the major players, we'd be announcing that deal, if we go that way, in the first quarter, that's how far along we are."

Dave Meltzer reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE could expect to make between $12 million and $13 million per monthly pay-per-view by selling the rights. The money would also be guaranteed, as opposed to having to rely on a dwindling subscriber base.

In terms of providers, McMahon did not mention any during the call, but many within the streaming industry expect WWE's content to end up on ESPN+, DAZN, or Peacock, who are currently the favourites to secure the rights. The NBC owned streaming service launches on April 15, 2020, and the network is looking to have WWE as its key initial programming to draw in subscribers.

For the avoidance of doubt, Meltzer penned: "There are a number of key players, obviously ESPN+ and DAZN, and another key player, Peacock, which is scheduled to launch this year. Sources in the industry have said that Peacock would look to WWE to be its key initial programming to draw subscribers from the start, very much as ESPN+ did with UFC. Instead of having to rely on declining network subscription money for big shows, they can get significantly money guaranteed, with the idea they can sell the PPV shows to a streaming service for $12 million to $13 million per monthly event."

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Cultaholic's resident newshound.