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February 21, 2020

WWE Reportedly Negotiating With ESPN For Content Streaming On ESPN+

WWE is reportedly having talks with ESPN.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the talks would be in regards to WWE content airing on the ESPN+ service. The deal that WWE is likely trying to broker would be similar to the deal UFC has with ESPN, where WWE would sell their rights to air pay-per-views, which would pay more money for the content than WWE could make on its own by selling the content directly to viewers with the WWE Network. The ESPN+ model with UFC is reportedly what opened WWE's eyes to the idea.

The ESPN+ deal could potentially bring more mainstream exposure to WWE's big events and their biggest Superstars. ESPN has proved that when they own rights to a product, they use their various shows to heavily market that product. There's no word yet on how far the talks with ESPN are, but The Observer noted that it looks like the deal has not been agreed on as of this week.

As noted earlier this month at this link, there was no truth to the rumors on WWE possibly talking to Amazon about selling content rights to them. While Amazon might not be interested in WWE, the company has been talking with other potential partners, which would include DAZN, and NBC's Peacock service. ESPN+ was also included in the original report on potential content partners.

The belief was that NBC's Peacock service, which is set to launch later this year, would be the best bet for WWE. TV industry sources recently reported to The Observer that Peacock would look at WWE to be its key initial programming to draw subscribers from the launch moving forward, which would be very similar to how ESPN+ did with UFC. With such a deal with one of these larger streaming services, WWE would be able to get significantly guaranteed money for their big money events, instead of being forced to rely on declining subscription money from the WWE Network.


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